Where Shall We Plant the Placenta?

Campaign image
Manjot Kaur, While She Gave Birth to an Ecosystem, 2022, archival print on archival paper, 28 X 38 cm
  • Date

    19/11/2022 22/01/2023
  • Location

    A Tale of A Tub, Rotterdam, NL

Which connections can be drawn between caring for the Earth and caring for the body? The group exhibition Where Shall We Plant the Placenta? compares motherhood with ecology, and establishes connections between the two through mutual notions of nurturing and caring. The placenta is anatomically designed to nourish and protect the baby, containing hormones required for pregnancy and breastfeeding. Particularly in western countries, it is common practice for a number of hospitals and healthcare facilities to dispose of the placenta as medical waste, however, an alternate choice is to keep it for certain traditional practices, rituals, stem cell research and production, as well as for holistic and alternative medicine purposes. The placenta can be kept in the freezer until it’s turned into capsules to swallow or to be buried in a special place as a way of connecting the baby to a specific land and heritage. But what to do when you live in a city without a garden or displaced from your land and heritage? Then the question arises: Where shall we plant the placenta?

The group exhibition Where Shall We Plant the Placenta? is inspired by Molly Arthur’s “MotherBaby\MotherEarth” theorizations as well as Bracha Ettinger's psychoanalytical examinations of 'Carriance', a concept that symbolises the sublimation (from the 'real) of maternal carrying, as her theorizations are concerned with internal processes. Arthur develops the idea of a depleted Earth and draws a parallel between the communal grief felt in both nature and motherhood. Similarly, the mining and excavation of bones and blood from Mother Earth can be compared with changes and interventions that affect our bodies. This group exhibition subverts the concept of mother figures as caretakers, examines manifestations of partnership, and considers the environmental impact of humans through displaying dependencies and the role of genealogy in environmental transformations.

Where Shall We Plant the Placenta? is supported by the Municipality of Rotterdam and the Mondriaan Fund.