The 18th Street Arts Center (File photo)

18th Street Arts Center in collaboration with Marathon Screenings co-present a screening and artist conversation around Patty Chang’s Milk Debt, which will open at 18th Street Arts Center this Fall. Curator Anuradha Vikram, who initiated Chang’s presentation at 18th Street, will be in conversation with the artist, with curator Asha Bukojemsky of Marathon Screenings moderating.

Milk Debt is a multi-part video project of women pumping breast milk while reciting lists of fears drawn from different communities in various geographical regions around the world. The title refers to the idea in Chinese Buddhism where a child is forever indebted to its mother for the milk she gave. Milk Debt is an arrangement that binds us to our history and to the earth, and is considered an unpayable debt. Biologically, breast milk is created when the body starts to produce the hormones prolactin and oxytocin – a hormone also produced when someone is in love. The performance acts as a type of ritual, with the performer channeling the fears of others into public speech. By speaking the fears, the pumper transforms them from the individual into the communal. In a time when people are being impacted by climate change, governmental policies, lack of resources, and pandemics, it is vital to find ways to connect to others, be inclusive and compassionate and find ways of making meaning in our world.

Chang’s exhibition was originally scheduled to open to the public on May 16, but due to COVID-19, has been rescheduled for the fall. Chang reopened participation in her List of Fears in March 2020 after Safer at Home measures were instituted, and the videos showing as part of this livestream event were created from responses submitted during the pandemic.

Livestream Screening: Wednesday, May 20, 12 p.m. – Friday, May 22, 1 p.m.

Artist Conversation via Zoom: Friday, May 22, 1 p.m. Link to Register for the Conversation: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_4gMxS1qaT6Gq0mL4-wmbbg

Livestream Link: http://18thstreet.org/milkdebt

Submitted by Sue Bell Yank

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