"The drawing functions like a an x-ray image. It exposes what is not immediately obvious through properties of the brushstrokes and the characteristics of the drawing lines. It is analytical. Is it also synthetic in the sense that something new can be put together after the analysis has taken apart and split into tiny visual and narrative episodes what lays before her?"(Helge Oder, 2017)
Past environmental abuse has inscribed itself into human milk in concentrated form. In the border region San Diego/Tijuana, the effects of the increasingly impermeable border on the environment and consequently, human milk produced here is analyzed by medical institutions such as Scripps Institute. The project makes these narratives visible. Documents, technical drawings and excerpts from documentary films are „covered“ – repeated, transformed. Tracings of images and film sequences are produced by hand and with printing techniques (plotter HP Draftpro 1988) in human milk.
The white on white drawings are made visible by burning them. I buy human milk online from the border region San Diego/Tijuana, mechanizing the visibility producing aspect of heating the milk by attaching a rotary iron and ultimately, externalizing the image selection and production method as far as possible.
Methods developed specifically for this project
COVERING: “To cover a piece” is a practice known from popular music. It creates and marks the original as such by re-citing it in the form of a new interpretation. The source, to which the cover version refers, while visible, is partially obscured, in my work with milk as painting material. The elaboration of a drawing process with mother's milk requires persistence and resistance to ridicule, it often comes across as oddly or even annoyingly obsessive, involving suspension of belief(“this can not be done”), the extended performance might appear to be an absurd provocation or mockery of detail oriented and serious scientific processes working on the question of how matter becomes material in this way. To produce human breastmilk drawings, image sources are found, photos, drawings and film sequences sifted through, researched according to technical terms, digitally enlarged, printed and edited. The printed templates are placed on a light table and traced in milk. In doing so, the specific properties of splattered milk were used to spray around and highlight some areas and obscure others. Experimentation led to figuring out how milk moves if used with a brush or a pen to draw and/or paint and how it would splatter, how large and pointed the individual spots would thin out and become lighter, how to make the milk move with a blow dryer so the splotches would tend more in one or the other direction, and how to develop a solid sense of the degree of blackness the material would have when it was burned with a technically adjusted iron. The image sources are selected according to their content, but also because of their formal qualities. The entire range of material variations are explored and used: shading, brush strokes and lines taper off and are layered, thickened, dramatically splashed, and perspectives are used and exploited to achieve a maximum atmospheric effect.
PLOTTING (untranslated nerdy lingo): Images and text tracking life are mechanically re-produced by using a HP DraftPro 750, (a plotter) from 1988, and printing in human border milk. The milk is subsequently ironed, or baked, and thereby burnt. The serial port terminal app CoolTerm is used to send HPGL Plotfiles (Simple ASCII-Files) to a HP DraftPro EXL Pen-Plotter from 1988 (hacking into a dinosaur) through a USB to Serial Adapter with a Prolific Chip and the relatively new PL2303 Driver from Prolific, using hardware handshake (CTS), since Xon/Xoff seemed unreliable. In general, this works well. The files are typically below 5MB, and they take between one and up to 5 hours to be drawn; since there is practically no buffer, they must be sent very slowly. Normally CoolTerm shows the CTS/DSR lights shortly flashing every 2 seconds or so and sends the next packet, etc. The plotter functions with rapidographs in its carousel. Rapidographs are pens with different tips that can be refilled, often used by illustrators or architects. If the tip is removed, they can be filled with whatever liquid seems to be the right one for the project, in this case breastmilk purchased in the border region between California and Mexico 2016 and 2017 (labeled HBM 2016/17). The carousel then moves with the pen to the position transmitted while the paper is moved back and forth according to the coordinates, tracing and marking cartographic information.
RE_ANIMATION: Film sequences are slowed down, stopped, excerpted, dissected and sliced apart into individual film stills, edited, printed, sorted according to a strict numerical system and covered in milk as paint before being reassembled and collaged into a re-animated sequence placed, when projected, between the viewer and the wall: the viewer literally sees gestures and moving imagery in and through a coat of human border milk.
 Michael Lüthy, Struktur und Wirkung in der Performance Kunst. In: Grenzen der Katharsis in den modernen Künsten. Hg: Martin Vöhler, Dirk Linck, 2009.