Should I Have Kids?
2022 - 2023
Pottery, Interviews, Animation
Research process at the Royal College of Art,
MA in Information Experience Design
Tutor - Charlotte Jarvis
'Should I Have Kids?' is a project that delves into the decision-making process surrounding motherhood, considering personal, cultural, and societal influences. My approach to this research question is deeply personal, drawing from my own fears, doubts, and reservations.
I explored complex topics such as motherhood, pregnancy, fertility, and their commodification.
The installation combines pottery, sculpture, AR, 3D scans, and moving image to symbolize my parenthood journey. These diverse mediums offer tangible representations and create an immersive experience.
Through this multi-dimensional installation, I invite spectators to engage in a non-linear exploration of the complexities surrounding the decision to have children. The design creates a judgement-free environment that encourages contemplation and fosters a deeper understanding of this deeply personal and universal dilemma.
Should I Have Kids? - Interviews
In this video I asked friends and family if they think I should start a family. As part of our conversations, many questions arise regarding pregnancy and giving birth, reasons for making this choice, money issues, the climate crisis, the complex life in Israel, Jewish tradition, complexity and politics of having children as a gay man and more.
Ely Abramovitch, Shira Cohen, Chen Sivan, and Ori Shifrin Anavi
This project explores the intricate relationship between the terms "Labour" and "Reproduction" within the realms of motherhood, pottery, and crafts. It delves into the profound impact of these concepts on the creation of ceramics, with a specific focus on the invaluable role played by female potters.
Moreover, the project draws inspiration from the Jewish folklore myth of the Golem, which traces its origins back to clay. This mythological narrative serves to enrich our understanding of the fundamental essence of life itself. Through various artistic and literary expressions, the project aims to delve deeper into the profound significance of motherhood, craftsmanship, and the act of creation.
Venus of Willendorf Pinata
This piece draws inspiration from Rachel Cusk's book 'A Life's Work,' reflecting her labor-related fears and anxieties.
"All I knew, looking at my narrow, recessless body, was that one day another body would come out of it, although it was not clear how or from where. As I understood it I was not to be fitted with some kind of extraction device at a later date. This same body held the promise of a future violence, like a Mexican pinata doll full of sweets."
A Pregnancy Test for Maria
This pregnancy test draws inspiration from ancient fertility goddesses, symbolizing hope and prayers for fertility. Wheat, a universal fertility symbol found in various mythologies and cultures, including Judaism. The object transforms during the test, It turns a stressful wait into a beautiful moment regardless of the desired outcome, whether as a souvenir or for sharing on social media.
I dedicate this object to my good friend Maria, and for her journey towards becoming a mother
Nine plastic bellies with miniature figures depict me dancing, drinking wine, smoking, and eating raw fish while donning a plastic pregnant belly. These animations celebrate fears and curiosity surrounding pregnancy, challenging societal norms and restrictions. The artwork underscores overmedicalization, bodily regulation experienced by pregnant individuals, and the frequent loss of agency for pregnant women.
Should I Have Kids? - Preformance
During this performance I walked throughout the gallery while wearing a cardboard ballot that resembles a pregnant belly. I handed out vote slips and asked participants to vote whether they think I should have kids or not. The performance ended with a vote count, where it was decided that I should have kids. (Most of the votes said “Yes”).
These objects draw inspiration from anatomical illustrations of female reproductive organs found in the book "The Short History of Anatomy & Physiology from Greeks to Harvey." While these drawings may have been regarded as medical research in their time, they now appear speculative and comical upon closer examination. These fabricated organs, born out of men's imaginations and beliefs, possess an almost artistic and expressive quality. Through the transformation of these illustrations into tangible objects, we provoke contemplation on the biased and limited perspectives of historical research, encouraging a challenge to false narratives.
These 'Should I Have Kids?' AR filters were intended to infuse humors into the narrative. By juxtaposing a weighty decision with the lightheartedness associated with social media and filters, it emphasizes the contrasting nature of the choice. While acknowledging that this is not a decision to be made lightly, the filters playfully engage with the medium and highlight the unique dynamics of decision-making in the digital age.
A central question for me around this process was - will I be happy being a mom? The question itself is non-trivial, since in the culture I come from, a common saying is “children are joy”. To get further insights into this question, I looked into representations of motherhood in art. Parenting is a central theme in art, with the image of the mother and child (Mary and Jesus) being the most iconic one. Figures are shown doing ‘motherly activities’ like holding their babies, breastfeeding and playing with them. I wanted to get an insight into how they are feeling - How was motherhood for them? What difficulties did they face? Were they happy, or did they suffer from postpartum depression?
I used a sentiment analysis tool to analyze faces of mothers in art works presented in the V&A Museum. The tool in use is “Noldus” which analyses what percentages of happiness, anger or sadness a character is experiencing. While the results themselves are not definitive, the work comes to show the significance of asking the question, even in an idealized setting.
I Asked Reddit If I Should Have Kids
Seeking for answers, I ventured online to find a community that could empathise with my predicament. That's when I stumbled upon the Reddit group known as "fence sitters," a space dedicated to discussions on the topic of having children. To delve deeper, I employed a sentiment analysis tool to identify frequently used word combinations and gauge their positive or negative connotations. The results, albeit amusing, reflect the somewhat superficial and one-dimensional nature of the algorithm.
The Fence-Sitters Club
Recognizing the presence of discussions on Reddit and their relevance beyond the platform, I took the initiative to establish an offline counterpart known as the "Fence Sitters Club." Admission to the club requires acquiring a tattoo that symbolises one's identity as a fence sitter, accompanied by an explanation of personal reasons for adopting this stance. Through regular gatherings, barbecues, and the availability of club merchandise, the aim is to foster a sense of camaraderie, ensuring individuals facing doubts find solace in the knowledge that they are not alone. While parents are welcomed, their membership is contingent upon an ongoing questioning of their parental decision or a willingness to engage openly in discussions surrounding any regrets they may harbour.