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Domina Lactens
Installation 1/2

Year: 1998
Dimensions: 2.20 m (H) × 1.40 m (W) × 40cm (D)
Medium: cauldrons with sound of infant suckling

Avec ton lait, ma mère, j’ai bu la glace
— Luce Irigaray
(With your milk, Mother, I swallowed ice)

Two heavy cauldrons are hung on the wall above a standing adult’s head and the sound of breastfeeding is heard through the holes in the cauldrons. A child is entirely powerless in feeding herself, her little head can be smaller than her mother’s breast and suckling is hard work. The experience can include fear, a sense of threat and literally a fight for survival.

The title is taken from an essay by Luce Irigaray titled ‘Et l’Une ne Bouge pas Sans l’Autre’ (‘And the One Doesn't Stir without the Other’). Ruth Jones writes: ‘The essay explores the complexities of mother-daughter relationships in patriarchal societies, but it could also be seen to address the necessity to conceive of the desire of the feminine 'Other'. For Irigaray it is critical for women to address their relationship to genealogy and desire simultaneously, since women must have both a history of genealogy from which they 'become' and a horizon of desire towards which their becoming is projected.’ (from ‘Neither fused nor rejected’ by Ruth Jones, 2005)

fig. 5