Blood in My Milk / Marianna Simnett
Sep 4, 2018 – Jan 6, 2019

Marianna Simnett, Blood in My Milk (still), Courtesy the artist and Jerwood / FVU Awards

“‘Head down’, she said. And I did. She said that I was too beautiful to play outside.”

– Blood in My Milk (2018)

As legend has it, Abbess Saint Æbbe the Younger of Coldingham cut off her nose to avoid being raped by the Vikings. Based on that story, in the work by Marianna Simnett a young girl maims herself. For the sake of her innocence and the promise of freedom, she seeks by these means to escape the threat of male violence. Unadulterated purity and beauty face impending invasion and sickness. Only absolute sterility offers protection from the onset of disease. Within the protective zone, however, the body takes on a life of its own and technological apparatuses gain sovereignty. In a nightmare-like sequence, removed body parts develop consciousnesses and become vengeful opponents to the body that has shed them. A “minimally invasive” vein operation is performed on a patient unwilling to move. The camera shots blend seamlessly with laboratory experiments on cockroaches whose movements can be controlled by way of targeted shocks. As remote-controlled “biobots,” the extremely resilient animals are to penetrate regions uninhabitable for man. The animal thus technically manipulated and degraded to an object at the same time possesses a superiority that makes the human body seem all the more vulnerable, powerless in its conditionality and dependent on medical intervention.

 

Marianna Simnett, Blood in My Milk (still), Courtesy the artist and Jerwood / FVU Awards

Marianna Simnett, Blood in My Milk (still), Courtesy the artist and Jerwood / FVU Awards

In the video installation, the individual episodes merge to form a drastic narrative about present-day mechanisms of control that survey gender and the body as contested territory. Obscenity and immersion come about precisely there where the camera does its invasive work, where the closeness of what is shown exceeds our natural faculty of sight and penetrates the body. Every pore, every secrete becomes visible. The result is horror, brought about not by fiction but by the realism of the flesh, of the body, of mechanical objects ranging from simple gadgets to high-end technologies. The film sequences are infused with hierarchical power structures and categorical dichotomies that drastically dissolve, or are painfully defeated by the protagonists, as the narratives unfold.

“So we had done her an injustice; she was not at all abnormal.…”

–Letter of 8 March 1895 from Sigmund Freud to Wilhelm Fliess

 

Marianna Simnett, Blood in My Milk (still), Courtesy the artist and Jerwood / FVU Awards

Marianna Simnett, Blood in My Milk (still), Courtesy the artist and Jerwood / FVU Awards

Medical, technological and pharmaceutical interventions in the human and animal body alike, and their underlying economic, social and patriarchal power structures, form the dominant narrative in the work of Marianna Simnett. The boundaries, both cultural and ideological, that the protagonists constantly run into are invisible, but none the less violent. The constant control exercised by everyone over everyone and by the self over the self brings about a rigid system with conditional loss of control from which it is impossible to escape unharmed. Simnett’s figures seek their freedom in places where, from a position of powerlessness, they are forced to act while at the same time they are incapable of acting. Their actions are drastic, irrational, violent. Their bodies become objects of negotiation only to be reconquered bit by bit in the course of the film.

 

Marianna Simnett / Blood in My Milk (installation)

Marianna Simnett / Blood in My Milk (installation)

The film script of Blood in My Milk is based on a long research process during which Marianna Simnett held conversations with doctors, farmers and students – also as a means of developing a language for the protagonists. All roles were played by non-actresses and non-actors who are shown carrying out their real professions in the film. The five-channel video installation Blood in My Milk at MMK Frankfurt is the first exhibition of Marianna Simnett’s work to be held in Europe outside England.

 

Blood in My Milk / Marianna Simnett
October 27, 2018 – January 6, 2019 / MMK Frankfurt
Visit the exhibition page >
September 4 – January 6, 2019 / New Museum
Visit the exhibition page >

Robert Rauschenberg: Japanese Clayworks
Apr 8 – Jul 9, 2022
This comprehensive exhibition brings together rarely seen artworks of Rauschenberg's series using a newly developed technique that combined ancient...
+
ARS22 / Living Encounters
Apr 8 – Oct 16, 2022
Art has the power to investigate society and present alternative interpretations of our shared world. The featured works raise...
+
Charging Myths / On-Trade-Off
Mar 6 – Aug 21, 2022
How is technological innovation dependent on raw materials? This question is key in the exhibit tracing the origins of...
+
Circulation(s) / 12th edition
European Young Photography Festival
Circulation(s) is back with a program that reveals the vitality, creativity, and diversity of emerging photography. For two months,...
+
Ukraine: Updates from Magnum
Photographers in the Field
Magnum Photographers are on the ground in Ukraine documenting the Russian invasion and its impact on life in the...
+
The Last Humans
Alienation in the Anthropocene
We have fundamentally altered the earth's ecosystem by disrupting the natural rhythm of our planet and in doing so...
+
International Women’s Day / 2022
Artpil / Prescription .127
More terrible is love in Kyiv than magnificent Venetian passions. Butterflies fly light and maculate into bright tapers –...
+
Bayil – Behind The Hills
Bayil, Baku / Ongoing Project
On the horizon of the district between old, handmade fences and the sky, you can see the newly built...
+
Robert Rauschenberg: Japanese Clayworks
Apr 8 – Jul 9, 2022
This comprehensive exhibition brings together rarely seen artworks of Rauschenberg's series using a newly developed technique that combined ancient...
+
ARS22 / Living Encounters
Apr 8 – Oct 16, 2022
Art has the power to investigate society and present alternative interpretations of our shared world. The featured works raise...
+
Charging Myths / On-Trade-Off
Mar 6 – Aug 21, 2022
How is technological innovation dependent on raw materials? This question is key in the exhibit tracing the origins of...
+
Circulation(s) / 12th edition
European Young Photography Festival
Circulation(s) is back with a program that reveals the vitality, creativity, and diversity of emerging photography. For two months,...
+
Ukraine: Updates from Magnum
Photographers in the Field
Magnum Photographers are on the ground in Ukraine documenting the Russian invasion and its impact on life in the...
+
The Last Humans
Alienation in the Anthropocene
We have fundamentally altered the earth's ecosystem by disrupting the natural rhythm of our planet and in doing so...
+
International Women’s Day / 2022
Artpil / Prescription .127
More terrible is love in Kyiv than magnificent Venetian passions. Butterflies fly light and maculate into bright tapers –...
+
Bayil – Behind The Hills
Bayil, Baku / Ongoing Project
On the horizon of the district between old, handmade fences and the sky, you can see the newly built...
+