what to expect when you're expecting
What to Expect When You’re Expecting is about a woman who has been scientifically impregnated with the eggs of the endangered Loggerhead sea turtle. She nests on the beach one night while a local news crew provides live updates throughout the process.
This vignette is born out of a mild obsession with the 2009 media trajectory of Nadya Suleman, a.k.a Octomom, who gave birth to octuplets as the result of in vitro fertilization. In our pro-natalist society, the tabloids and their followers initially praised Nadya’s super fertility, but were quick to scold when it was discovered the pregnancy was a result of corrupt medical science and that the single mother was on welfare and already raising six other children.
In a rapidly changing climate, this speculative fiction poses the question: are we as humans willing to forgo having human offspring in order to help grow the populations of endangered animal species? Species that our earth damaging practices have had a direct hand in depleting? In her 2016 book, Staying With The Trouble, Donna Haraway emphasizes that the key to getting on in our changing world is to make kin with other species as a way of making us more responsible to one another. Ai Hasegawa’s bio art about alternative family planning has also been an inspiration for this installation.
What to Expect When You’re Expecting is about our current information communication breakdown. The audience is simultaneously confronted with the news media spectacle, the perspective of the woman in labor and a wide shot of the scene from far off down the beach. They're all vying for our attention and providing different information.
Made possible by the Saul Zaentz Innovation Fund in Film & Media at Johns Hopkins University.
Premiered in Baltimore at Mercury Theater. November 2019