Speculative Obstetric Models : material remakings of historical anatomical models and contemporary epigenetic agency

dc.contributor.advisor Kelley, Lindsay en_US
dc.contributor.advisor Munster, Anna en_US Nicholson, Clare en_US 2022-03-23T13:07:50Z 2022-03-23T13:07:50Z 2020 en_US
dc.description.abstract My practice-based research project remakes historical obstetric and gestational developmental models using contemporary materials and feminist materialist methods. Extending standardised representations of the anatomical body, I (re)conceptualise somatic-environment entanglements to account for new epigenetic findings in the life sciences. Epigenetic inquiry understands bodies and environments as interdependent and permeable. Epigenetic mechanisms alter gene expression, triggering acquired characteristics. These are transmissible across several generations, and, when transferred by mothers, referred to as maternal-foetal programming. By employing critical material practices, and using historical medical modelling tropes, my artwork refigures maternal body-environment relations. I draw on the feminist and new materialist theories of Karen Barad, Donna Haraway, Stacy Alaimo, Susan Hekman, and history and philosophy of science scholarship by Margaret Lock and Hannah Landecker. Each artwork represents the agential mattering , as Barad puts it, of bodies in response to issues of concern to epigenetics: low maternal socioeconomic capital, toxicant exposure, diet and obesity, stress and trauma. This thesis presents a body of practice and a dissertation that carefully consider epigenetic findings, questioning the epigenetic focus placed on the individual mother and mother-blaming cultural and visual iterations. The maternal body has been medically positioned as causal to offspring adversity across time. Despite an understanding of epigenetic heritability between body-environment relations, denigrating visual representations and discourse persist within clinical texts and across popular media. Even in the relatively new field of epigenetics, mothers are construed as responsible for inducing detrimental foetal changes, with an onus placed on mothers to manage and control aetiological environmental influences. My practice models a more expansive understanding of the way environments impinge upon bodies within obstetric and developmental representations. The obstetric medical models presented develop life and environmental circumstances as agents in maternal-foetal mattering, shifting the focus from the individual mother s responsibilities to wider societal problems. My work updates the tradition of anatomical models to materially show how epigenetic discourse might be interpreted socially, culturally and aesthetically. en_US
dc.language English
dc.language.iso EN en_US
dc.publisher UNSW, Sydney en_US
dc.rights CC BY-NC-ND 3.0 en_US
dc.rights.uri en_US
dc.subject.other environment en_US
dc.subject.other aetiology en_US
dc.subject.other heritable en_US
dc.subject.other sculpture en_US
dc.subject.other toxins en_US
dc.subject.other obesity en_US
dc.subject.other stress en_US
dc.subject.other trauma en_US
dc.subject.other low socioeconomic status en_US
dc.subject.other practice-based en_US
dc.subject.other agency en_US
dc.subject.other mattering en_US
dc.subject.other somatic en_US
dc.subject.other materialism en_US
dc.subject.other epigenetic en_US
dc.subject.other feminism en_US
dc.subject.other environment en_US
dc.subject.other mothers en_US
dc.subject.other mother-blaming en_US
dc.subject.other anatomy en_US
dc.subject.other obstetric models en_US
dc.subject.other maternal-foetal programming en_US
dc.subject.other new-materialism en_US
dc.subject.other bioscience en_US
dc.subject.other biopolitics en_US
dc.subject.other medical science en_US
dc.subject.other medicine en_US
dc.subject.other representation en_US
dc.title Speculative Obstetric Models : material remakings of historical anatomical models and contemporary epigenetic agency en_US
dc.type Thesis en_US
dcterms.accessRights open access
dcterms.rightsHolder Nicholson, Clare
dspace.entity.type Publication en_US
unsw.relation.faculty Arts Design & Architecture
unsw.relation.originalPublicationAffiliation Nicholson, Clare, Art, Faculty of Art & Design, UNSW en_US
unsw.relation.originalPublicationAffiliation Kelley, Lindsay, Art & Design, Faculty of Art & Design, UNSW en_US
unsw.relation.originalPublicationAffiliation Munster, Anna, Art & Design, Faculty of Art & Design, UNSW en_US School of Art and Design *
unsw.thesis.degreetype PhD Doctorate en_US
Original bundle
Now showing 1 - 1 of 1
No Thumbnail Available
public version.docx
206.77 MB
Resource type