Time spent within a womb is marked by biological milestones, perhaps a couple of sonograms, and a slumber long enough to jump-start the battery of our lives. It is a place where body parts like brains, hearts, and sensory cells are formed–the parts that help us to understand feeling. It is even said that trauma that is experienced by the mother can be felt alongside her in utero. Despite this, it is a place where we have all once been, but where no one can seem to remember with any specificity or clarity.
A Womb with a View is a visual story, a 9-month origin story. To begin, I found my mother’s pregnancy diary when I was 12. Unlike most pregnancy diaries, mine included a real-time account of how my absent father left my mother. Not only did the diary give me insight into the complexity of my mother’s painful past, but it answered some of the ambiguities of my birth. It showed me a glimpse of the father I had never met, it showed me the moments I had been present for but could not remember, and it revealed a great biological rift within myself.
To reconcile my self imposed guilt, my physical proximity and my inability to influence the outcome of the drama that created me, I decided to imagine, to fabricate, and to revisit a place I could never see or know, but could feel while in utero. In this project, I play both of the roles of my mother and my father. By wearing the clothes that they would have worn, and by acting in the manner I imagine to be true, I embody the decisions they made and address my warring genetic makeup. In doing so, I attempt to understand where I came from, who I am, and who I will be.