A Void

womb

A Void

In this, I have agreed to what was termed ‘A life modelling process’ for an artist seeking volunteers for a project he is working on. I stand before him in my dressing gown, nude underneath and wondering what he wants me to do, he tells me:

‘Don’t worry, I have done this lots of times before.’

From this, I am somewhat reassured, but still, air a little caution.

‘I just need you to lie down so I can paint you with latex.’

In this he shows me the latex, it’s white and when he paints a little of my arm it feels cold but pleasant on my form. I agree to the process and he helps me untie my dressing gown belt, although naked I feel comfortable in front of him, he has put me at ease.

I lie down under his direction and move into the position he needs me to be in. He starts painting around my neck area, slowly but surely working his way down. He is careful but professional as he covers my breasts, making sure he only touches my nipples with the horse hair bristles of the paint brush.

Working his way further down my body he comes to the groin area. I become nervous again, worrying about what he is about to do.

‘Relax, I have done this many times before.’

I let my muscles fall low, then with warm air, he blows gently inside myself. From this, like magic, I open right up like a great white shark about to launch an attack.

‘That’s right, good, you’re doing well.’

He directs, then he moves onto his back and slides his head and upper body inside my womb. From this, he begins to paint, carefully and professionally, coating the walls of my womb and ovaries in latex. When he has finished he edges out carefully and puts each hand delicately on the inside of my legs. Then without touching me with his lips he sucks air from the inside of myself. I return to my normal size, at ease with everything going on, amazed at what has been performed by this genius.

From this, he works down my legs in a similar motion. He then turns me over to work on my back and lower body. So relaxed with the brush motion I am almost asleep when he finishes:

‘We just need to wait for it to dry.’

He whispers, in this, he picks up an old fashioned guitar and begins to sing folk songs.

He wakes me up to tell me that it’s time to peel the latex off. I stand up for him and he begins stretching off the suited coating, carefully going over my breasts. After my ribs he stops and places a hand on each side of myself, then he kisses my forehead, gently and childlike in motion. As I smile he gets back to action, working the form off down to my lower body.

After a gentle shake, my womb falls out. Before me, I see its squashed in structure, perfect on the inner coating, but de-revelled on the outer. My ovaries flop out almost deformed and entwined, messy and forlorn. Ahead of me, I see the babies, I will never give birth to and the children I will never raise. The bedtime stories I will never read, the play parks I will never go to, the football matches I will never go to and the school plays I will never attend. In this he finishes the removal process, then he shakes out the body-like creation. He clips it onto a line, in this, it stands tall and strong, an independent being, strong, singular, but of great value.

Alison Little

A Void is a flash Fiction works from Alison Little. This piece was first performed in the Hornby Rooms, Central Library, Liverpool for International Women’s Day in 2018. The subsequent year it read for an event marking the same celebrations held during the 209 Women exhibition marking the centenary of women being able to vote in the UK (Although restricted to those over 30 and with property).

The illustration was also created by Alison Little using a bamboo dip stick pen and Indian ink. It feature a close up of a womb and creates an impression of scarring. She is looking to make a sculptural piece from latex later in 2020 to represent the works.

More about 209 Women exhibition, Open Eye Gallery

Donation Station

image with latex body parts copy

Donation Station is a sculptural installation proposal submitted to Dorset County Hospital. The intention of the Illustrate is to encourage organ donation and the chosen piece to be sited by the cardiology department in Dorchester.

 

Donation Station aims to locate a collection of concrete portable organ transplant refrigeration units within the cardiac courtyard. Each unit to feature a name panel being that of a celebrity or person who became famous medically because of an organ transplant procedure. Temporary over-size latex organs to be used for the private view for the installation opening and on occasions when the Hospital and the Cardiac Unit has a higher level of foot fall. The installation will encourage donation directly through the use of celebrity culture, indirectly by simply drawing attention to the need for organs to be donated.

The artist will work with a locally based firm within the Dorset region to create between nine and twenty-one internally re-enforced rough solid cement cast from the use of a portable refrigeration unit suitable for organ transportation. Each unit to measure around 50 x 30 and 50 cm in height, the exact size to be determined at a later date. A red dye to be used within the concrete mixing process to give them a sight pink tonal quality. The rough cement cast will give the units an artistic quality in terms of a raw edge suiting the subject of organ donation and the surgical operating process. The grid-like layout of the units looks to draw attention to the vast amounts of organs donations needed by the NHS on a daily basis. The grid structure to be laid out in three columns, the columns to depict the three people who die in need of an organ donation on a daily basis. The mathematical formation draws attention to the position of the process of donated organs are transported allowing for no error and perfection in timing matters.

Each Unit to show an external shape of the organ which it contains within its structure. The name of a celebrity or medically notable person to be etched onto a brass plaque attached to the front of the structure. The World Cup-winning footballer, George Best to be used against an organ of a liver representing the liver transplant operation which he undertook. In a similar manner, Lou Reed the American rock music legend could be represented. Medical milestones could be shown with a unit dedicated to Louis Wash Kansy the first man to receive a heart transplant. A second plaque to the back of the units would explain further details in regards to who is featured and the nature of the operation. There is also the potential for a unit to contain a brain the be transplanted, for the unit the be unnamed then the ethical considerations raised in more details on the rear plaque. Does the outcome result in the brain or body becoming the person in existence?

The over-size latex organs to be used for the private view for the installation and for occasions when the foot fall to the cardiac unit is higher. Each form to be made from individually moulded organs incorporation colour dyes which relate to the blood present during the operation procedures. Potentially each piece could be filled with water on a base level so as they were unlikely to be affected by environmental conditions such as wind. As they would be hollow internally they would be relatively easy to store in an internal facility. The option of the latex organs to be taken to various events to increase levels of those giving permission for the process has further potential.

Engagement with the installation and the potential to increase the numbers of organ donation works on varies levels. The latex forms have a strong visual impact which would draw attention to the art forms created which would be reflected through the media reaching the public on a greater scale. The dramatic effect of the rubber organs would draw further attention to the art form when used at busy footfall periods. The concrete units to create interest from the platform of the many windows present around the courtyard. The installation can then be engaged with on a secondary level, the plates can be read and the procedures identified with on a higher level. In today celebrity-obsessed culture should lead to greater participation in the organ donation process. The potential to invite debate over the identity of an individual if this procedure was to occur is immense.

The Donation Station is an innovative installation which will engage on an emotional, cultural and ethical level. We identify with lives which could be saved through the process, our passions for the celebrity-obsessed culture of the twenty-first century Britain, but equally to engage the debate over the ethics of the ultimate organ transplant: the brain.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.