Shvarts explains her ‘repeated self-induced miscarriages’

For the past year, I performed repeated self-induced miscarriages. I created a group of fabricators from volunteers who submitted to periodic STD screenings and agreed to their complete and permanent anonymity. From the 9th to the 15th day of my menstrual cycle, the fabricators would provide me with sperm samples, which I used to privately self-inseminate. Using a needleless syringe, I would inject the sperm near my cervix within 30 minutes of its collection, so as to insure the possibility of fertilization. On the 28th day of my cycle, I would ingest an abortifacient, after which I would experience cramps and heavy bleeding.

To protect myself and others, only I know the number of fabricators who participated, the frequency and accuracy with which I inseminated and the specific abortifacient I used. Because of these measures of privacy, the piece exists only in its telling. This telling can take textual, visual, spatial, temporal and performative forms — copies of copies of which there is no original.

This piece — in its textual and sculptural forms — is meant to call into question the relationship between form and function as they converge on the body. The artwork exists as the verbal narrative you see above, as an installation that will take place in Green Hall, as a time-based performance, as a independent concept, as a myth and as a public discourse.

It creates an ambiguity that isolates the locus of ontology to an act of readership. An intentional ambiguity pervades both the act and the objects I produced in relation to it. The performance exists only as I chose to represent it. For me, the most poignant aspect of this representation — the part most meaningful in terms of its political agenda (and, incidentally, the aspect that has not been discussed thus far) — is the impossibility of accurately identifying the resulting blood. Because the miscarriages coincide with the expected date of menstruation (the 28th day of my cycle), it remains ambiguous whether the there was ever a fertilized ovum or not. The reality of the pregnancy, both for myself and for the audience, is a matter of reading.

This ambivalence makes obvious how the act of identification or naming — the act of ascribing a word to something physical — is at its heart an ideological act, an act that literally has the power to construct bodies. In a sense, the act of conception occurs when the viewer assigns the term “miscarriage” or “period” to that blood.

In some sense, neither term is exactly accurate or inaccurate; the ambiguity is not merely a matter of context, but is embodied in the physicality of the object. This central ambiguity defies a clear definition of the act. The reality of miscarriage is very much a linguistic and political reality, an act of reading constructed by an act of naming — an authorial act.

It is the intention of this piece to destabilize the locus of that authorial act, and in doing so, reclaim it from the heteronormative structures that seek to naturalize it.

As an intervention into our normative understanding of “the real” and its accompanying politics of convention, this performance piece has numerous conceptual goals. The first is to assert that often, normative understandings of biological function are a mythology imposed on form. It is this mythology that creates the sexist, racist, ableist, nationalist and homophobic perspective, distinguishing what body parts are “meant” to do from their physical capability. The myth that a certain set of functions are “natural” (while all the other potential functions are “unnatural”) undermines that sense of capability, confining lifestyle choices to the bounds of normatively defined narratives.

Just as it is a myth that women are “meant” to be feminine and men masculine, that penises and vaginas are “meant” for penetrative heterosexual sex (or that mouths, anuses, breasts, feet or leather, silicone, vinyl, rubber, or metal implements are not “meant” for sex at all), it is a myth that ovaries and a uterus are “meant” to birth a child.

When considering my own bodily form, I recognize its potential as extending beyond its ability to participate in a normative function. While my organs are capable of engaging with the narrative of reproduction — the time-based linkage of discrete events from conception to birth — the realm of capability extends beyond the bounds of that specific narrative chain. These organs can do other things, can have other purposes, and it is the prerogative of every individual to acknowledge and explore this wide realm of capability.

Aliza Shvarts is a senior in Davenport College.

Comments

  • anon

    Brilliant, aliza.

  • Anonymous

    This is wonderful explanation of an artwork that has been condemned without being understood.

  • pro-choiceyalie08

    This is absolutely one of the stupidest things I have ever read. Hey Aliza: A dog and a cat are not different animals only because we call them different names. Nor does our "act of naming" create, in any sense, the difference between a pregnancy and a period.

    Just because you make something unclear in your sick little experiment doesn't mean it reflects a larger ambiguity. If I have a glass of Pepsi and a glass of Coke on the table and I close my eyes and grab one, the fact that I don't know which one I'm drinking doesn't mean that the sodas are different only because they're called "Pepsi" and "Coke."

    All your experiment has done is give women's rights, Yale, and art itself a bad name. Don't insult our intelligence by trying to suggest it wasn't for shock value - it was, and is, all for shock value.

    It doesn't matter how many intellectual buzzwords you try to use to justify it, you fail to present any kind of logical argument for why this piece is worthwhile. But it did give you lots of attention, so congrats! You've given the people who hate everything you believe in so much ammunition they're still trying to figure out what to do with it. No religious fundamentalist could have ever given the anti-choice movement a gift like this. I'm sure the women out there who are pregnant and struggling with a real rather than manufactured choice, and the women out there who are fighting the valiant fight to protect the options given to those women, can't wait to thank you.

    You should be ashamed of yourself.

  • Tom

    A foul and repulsive pile of “intellectual” sounding gobbledygook. Get over yourself and your contemptible pretensions. I pity the poor schmuck you marry someday (assuming that horror ever comes to pass). You’ve certainly helped make my mind up regarding one matter; Yale is not the sort of place that I’d want my children to continue their studies once they hit their college years. You need some serious psychiatric counseling and plenty of it.

  • bubblesort

    Brilliant concept. I only wish I could go and see it for myself.

  • Chuffman

    This is a disgrace. And to think some of the most intelligent individuals in the world attend this distinguished university. If the school approves this, I can only hope that my children will never attend Yale. This has nothing to do with whether or not one is pro choice or against abortion. The deliberate action to PURPOSEFULLY waste life displays a conscious disregard for the value of life. Those who purposefully set out to have an abortion before conception has occurred and who purposefully carry out a plan to abort a fetus after conception are guilty of nothing less than premeditated murder. Where is the social value in this so called "art". To describe this action as art offends and disgraces the individuals who are true artists. Miscarriages happen naturally and not through a concious course of action to bring about the action. Please do not call it a miscarriage any longer. This is nothing less than a premeditated act before conception to conceive and purposefully, with concious disregard for the life of a fetus she WANTED to grow inside of her.

    As a pro-life advocate this makes me very sad, and it brings me to tears. What a waste of the miracle of life that GOD gave women.
    I can only pray for the babies lost, and that of her soul.

  • Yale 08

    A brilliant explanation? This is still so stupid. I am ashamed that you are going to get a Yale degree and I am ashamed that you were ever admitted to Yale. Thank you for the bad PR.

    What did I sit in the library for weeks writing my senior paper for? I could have instead impregnated myself repeatedly and spouted some gibberish. Your explanation isn't compelling. It's just ad hoc bs to try and justify your failings.

  • Recent Alum

    Brilliant parody.

  • Marlowe

    This woman is a disgrace to her family and to the University.

    She is evil. There is no other word to describe her complete lack of respect for the life of her own children.

    She claims that she is proudly displaying the blood of her own progeny for the sake of art. This is no less evil than displaying the tattooed skin of concentration camp victims for the sake of art.

    Utterly disgusting. If her intention was to shock, it succeeded. I hope her parents are proud when they visit the bloody remains of their grandchildren which their daughter will have on display at this once fine University.

    Art? Hitler was an artist too.

  • Michael P

    Aliza has Free Speech rights. This is all about the First Amendment. Let's not follow the gov't down the path of censorship. After all, censorship is becoming America's favorite past-time. The US gov't (and their corporate friends), already detain protesters, ban books like "America Deceived" from Amazon and shut down Ron Paul. Free Speech forever.
    Last link (before Google Books caves to pressure and drops the title):
    http://www.iuniverse.com/bookstore/book_detail.asp?&isbn=0-595-38523-0

  • Jax

    I was very annoyed with your project when I first read of it because it had no theoretical lens through which to be viewed. However, since you have written an intelligent statement on said work, I retract my initial annoyance with such a flippant way of dealing with something so serious.

    While I commend your desire to subvert the normative structure of language and bodies, it seems as though you spout off a number of buzzwords that anyone trained in the arts will recognize to have value without you actually putting any value into your work.

    Congrats on the self-aggrandizing publicity but I do not think you have sparked any discussion of the authority of naming things. I think you would do well to go back to Semiotics 101.

    You may have got one over on the people that are too outraged to push for meaning but your peers who are tired of pretentious, superfluous "art" projects can see through it's transparency to understand that you are clinging to Art as Sanctuary.

    You are putting up walls that protect you and your project from critique by your intention to subvert. Any attempt to find meaning ends up supporting your claim that the public can't handle such outrageous art.

    If you want to encourage a discussion about the body and naming and function, perhaps you should study those who come before you and do it better. (Stelarc comes to mind…)

    So, my question: What is your ultimate goal with this? Have you achieved it by getting reactions such as those from more conservative individuals? Or by getting reactions such as mine?

    BTW: I think you are going in the right direction with your comment on naming the blood that comes after a possible conception as either miscarriage or period and how that decides so much but I think you stop short. Can you elaborate?

  • awesome-o

    girl you crazy.

  • Anonymous

    Sorry, but no amount of metaphorical bs can overcome the fact that you are "cuckoo for cocoa puffs" and are in desperate need of psychiatric attention.

    And Chase O, your support of this project indicates that you and the rest of the Women's Center continue to make a mockery of women's rights and further establish the Center as a fringe group on campus and not at all equivalent to both the cultural houses and the religious centers.

  • Yale '06

    This is a well-written piece of B.S. that covers for a publicity stunt.

    According to this piece, the purpose was to “recognize [her body’s] potential as extending beyond its ability to participate in a normative function.” And also according to Aliza, the normative function of a woman's reproductive organs is to reproduce.

    She she impregnated herself and miscarried--a frequently natural reproductive event--or simply menstruated. How did this at all mess with our notions of what is normative? Taking birth control pills is more exciting if you're trying to show that you can defy the expectations of your body.

  • anonymous

    While the form of your artwork is, in a word, disgusting, you do provide persuasive arguments in this piece for why you did it and what its purpose is.

    Though the furor you have caused has undoubtedly tarnished Yale's reputation (which is extremely unfortunate!), it does oddly make your piece more "effective".

  • Anonymous

    So glad you wrote this. Excellent.

  • Entartete Kunst

    This reasoning could be used to justify anything. Why not exhume the decaying corpses of your ancestors to demonstrate the ‘ambiguity of the body’ and ‘tyranny of the family’—where does your great-grandmother’s corpse end and the worms begin? Your cleverness does not begin to cover the stench of solipsistic moral rottenness that you exude.

  • Anonymous

    It's a wonderful parody of feminism.

  • anonymous

    "Morality is always dreadfully complicated to a man who has lost all his principles." G.K. Chesterson

  • 09

    While I can buy her argument that the male/female masculinity/femininity thing is a myth, i am pretty sure the uterus is meant for birthing. She might as well argue that eyes aren't meant for seeing nor ears meant for hearing.

  • alumna

    Aliza, why are you using the inaccurate term "miscarriage" instead of the correct "abortion"?

  • Yes!

    This is very convincing. The piece is clearly very well thought-out.

  • Mel

    Brilliant perhaps, but to what end? Inducing pain on those who have experienced unwanted miscarriages? What's to understand before condemning? The discussion to include condemnation or the praise was the purpose of the "art" was it not? Chase O, what an inane comment.

  • Professor

    I'm a Yale Professor. I give Shvartz an "A" for pretentious nonsense. I give her advisor an "F" for trying to teach her to be anything other than a clone of the advisor's silly posing. I give the Yale administration an "F" for running scared from the real story, which is the fact that students at Yale can fall into majors where they learn nothing other than the ability to parrot incomprehensible crap.

  • c

    articulate and coherent, and yet there is no meaning to this particular "artwork" without the context of the normative it seeks to refute.

    context can be everything, certainly, but the truest art generates its own context and, with a little bit of luck, introduces it to society.

    proust said, "art is a selective re-creation of reality according to an artist's metaphysical value-judgments. an artist recreates those aspects of reality which represent his fundamental view of man's nature."

    this girl needs to suffer more, until she actually has a "nature", and something of worth to say about it.

  • anon

    two thumbs up Aliza

  • Anonymous

    If you care about discourse, write an op-ed. What you did is insane. To call it art is a mockery.

  • Joe

    You are one sick person.

  • Chris M. in Los Angeles

    You've got to be kidding me. As long as you are gullible, anything can be conceptualized to mean anything. This woman artificially inseminated herself, then intentionally induced miscarriages. What rational and well-functioning person does this intentionally? For what, for art? No, for attention, for confusion!

    Yale is setting a very dangerous precedent if this exhibit is allowed to be shown on campus. This is not free speech, this has crossed the line into the wanton creation and destruction of human life, which is indefensible for any reason -- especially if the reason given is for "art." This is not art. It neither beautifully nor truthfully renders an aspect of humanity, and it doesn't appear to demonstrate significant technical mastery of a discipline. It is a publicity stunt.

    I hope all Yalies, especially donors, who care about the reputation of their university will see to it that this exhibit does not go forth, and that the advisor who failed to exercise the judgment necessary to prevent it from going forth is fired. As for this confused young woman, who is as misguided as she is articulate, I doubt she can be forced to accept counseling, but I'm not sure that she's the sort of person that Yale should want to have as a face of their campus. Wherever she goes, people will think, "Yale."

    Next, we'll be cloning people for "art." Why not, if we can create and terminate pregnancies for show?

  • Andrew - YSOA

    Ah, undergrads discovering decon…

    *yawn*

    -andrew

  • Ben

    Or, alternatively, these are the ravings of a clearly ill individual who has no respect for life and really needs some inpatient mental care. Abortion equals death, death does not equal art, ergo abortion does not equal art. Ms. Schvarts, if this is supposed to be an art project you should fail based on the fact that it's not art.

  • skippy

    I did a web search and came across an article called, “ The Ming Period,” a piece written by Aliza as she anticipated - and got - her first period. The first part of the story recounts how Aliza’s mother gave one of the artist’s friends a great talk about first periods.
    The story ends with this paragraph:

    After a trip to the girls’ bathroom and a harrowing experience with the pad dispenser, I got on the school bus to go home, excited to tell my mother the news. I expected a lot from that talk. I expected secrets to be revealed, meanings to be exposed, and to emerge somehow closer to my mother and her adult world. I remember beaming as she sat me down on her bed with a package of pads and launched into a similar version of the talk she had given my friend. But about five or ten minutes into it, her then-boyfriend got home from work and walked into the bedroom. She looked at me, handed me the package, and nothing more was said. My first period remained an event shared only by the Mings and me.

    One must ask, is the use of “reproductive by-product” in an art piece a way to garner attention for a milestone that was a disappointment in young adulthood?

  • Anonymous

    "These organs can do other things, can have other purposes, and it is the prerogative of every individual to acknowledge and explore this wide realm of capability."

    If this is her purpose, she could've shoved some food up her butt, filmed it, and called it art. At least that I would've gone to see.

  • Amber

    Your parents must be so proud.
    Seriously, anyone white knighting you and defending your actions still is a fool along with you and your desperate bid for attention (hence the press release.)
    "…it is a myth that ovaries and a uterus are 'meant' to birth a child."
    No, they're meant to bleed out and be smeared with vaseline on a cube?
    This is on par with the man who let the dog die and is the sad state of "modern art" today.

  • Anonymous

    People just don't get it.
    They don't even seem to understand WHY they are so righteously outraged at this entire episode.

    The reason is is the HUMAN body is SACRED….whether they recognize this basic truth or not, it's true.

    In this gross degradation and sacrilege to herself, to her body, and to the people she induced to cooperate with her, and to the potential embryo's she may or may not have conceived, she completely dehumanizes and objectifies her own self, and those others as well. The philosophy she embraces in these actions is one that belong to monsters like Joseph Mengela.

    .

    What it means to be human, a HUMAN woman is SO much more then she will ever grasp.

    http://www.theologyofthebody.net/

    What's REALLY scary is the realization is she didn't just 'pop' out of a vacuum. She IS the synthesis of all that is best and bright at Yale…and she's a monster. A cute little pigeon toed monster with a sweet smile.

    This terrifies the powers that be at Yale, and they are frantically trying to cover it up with a false claim that dear Aliza 'made the whole thing up.' But like any sociopathic narcissist, Aliza will not be cowed and insists her story is true.

    I think it is.

    But…

    What really should frighten the Yale board of directors is that Aliza wasn't and isn't alone, and she is just one of a whole brood they've engendered with the godless, liberal, relativistic philosophy spewed from academia these past 40 or so years.

    Go Aliza!
    you show them girl!

    dove

  • liamua

    fascinating argument and piece. I actually think your piece is enhanced with our uncertainty that the pregnancy events even occurred, considering the internet hysteria over the piece.
    Best,
    Lianne, UCLA-B.A., CalArts-MFA

  • baffled

    I think this "artist" should seek mental help.

  • Anonymous

    all you people need serious help… especially those who are encouraging this nonsense.

  • A Question

    If this is the goal of your project, I then have to pose the question: If you were seeking to show that your organs can do other things beyond their normative function, that "biological function[s] are a mythology imposed on form", do you feel you have accomplished it? In my own perspective and opinion you have not shown anything that a uterus is not already capable of doing- shedding menstrual blood and/or aborting a fetus. Nor in my perspective have you de-feminized the uterus or its function - both the menstrual cycle and the act of miscarrying are uniquely and biologically belonging to the female sex (though the concept of femininity becomes a gray area when one takes into consideration the role of gender identity). By exploiting its reproductive nature, have you really freed the uterus from its mythological function?

  • MC07
  • rodosman

    You should be ashamed of yourself. To treat life so carelessly. Unbeleivable

  • Kevin R. Kosar

    Wow, what a load of high-winded nonsense, all of which is mean to fool folks into thinking that Shvarts is saying something profound. What's her BIG point? That "it is a myth that ovaries and a uterus are 'meant' to birth a child." Yawn. Philosophers, scientists and others have argued over the body, nature, and meaning for centuries. Clearly, Shvarts has read none of this. If she had, she'd recognize how trite her point is, and she might be able to address this issue in a more sophisticated manner.

  • Rick Roll

    My art piece.
    It's a penis made out of my own scat on Shvarts' brilliant art.

    It's a postmodern spontaneity inspired by late Foucault's critique of modern power structure! I was intrigued to add more details to portray feminist critique of scientific epistemology, but that could've been too deep.

    So I just decided to stick with penis shaped scat on Shvarts' art instead. And I am not just trying to get attention. This is my art.

  • Anonymous

    "it is a myth that ovaries and a uterus are “meant” to birth a child."

    Uhhh…that's exactly what they are meant to do. It's a reproductive system, not your appendix.

    Enjoy your twenty minutes of shameless self-promotion. I bet you made your parents proud.

  • Roberta

    I cannot believe anyone approves of this. It is sick.

  • N Miller

    I found this page by following the links from a story on the New York Times website. I'm very glad I did.

    Ms. Shvarts' concept and her explanation are excellent. I was particularly struck by these sentences:

    "This ambivalence makes obvious how the act of identification or naming — the act of ascribing a word to something physical — is at its heart an ideological act, an act that literally has the power to construct bodies. In a sense, the act of conception occurs when the viewer assigns the term “miscarriage” or “period” to that blood."

    I wonder if Ms. Shvarts is familiar with the history of the practice of "abortion" in America.

    To quote N.E.H. Hull and P.C. Hoffer's "Roe v Wade: The Abortion Rights Controversy in America" (2001, U. of Kansas, pg. 13):

    "Well into the 19th century, English and American home remedy and medical manuals listed common abortifacients as ways of restoring the natural menstrual cycle, not because the euphemistic phrasing was necessary to avoid legal prosecution, but because abortion was simply one of the many ways in which women dealt with gynecological and obstetric matters."

    The act of naming is not just ideological; it is also, with rare exception, dependent on social context.

    Ms. Shvarts' work powerfully evokes the cyclical nature of historicity.

  • Anonymous

    You are a self-absorbed, pathetic loon looking for attention. Well you got it. Congratulations.

  • Anonymous

    This woman didn't just 'pop' out of a vacuum. She IS the synthesis of all that is best and bright at Yale!!
    And she's a monster. A cute little 'pigeon-toed' monster with a sweet little girly smile.

    I imagine This is catching the "powers that be" at Yale by complete surprise. They are are so clueless while frantically trying to cover it up with claiming that dear Aliza 'made the whole thing up.' But like any self- respecting sociopathic narcissist, Aliza will not be cowed and insists her story is true.

    What really should concern the Yale board of directors is that Aliza wasn't and isn't alone. She is just ONE of a whole brood they've engendered with the godless, liberal, relativistic philosophy spewed from higher academia these past 40 or so years. Their confusion must be something akin to how the intelligentsia in Pre-world war II Europe felt in Germany when they began to see their pure and idealistic musings on race and eugenics become death camps, or for those in Eastern Europe who saw their pompous ideals being born into gulags and purges. Personally, I think this intellectual spawn will be the daddy of them all…it's *just* now percolating up to the surface, and the smell is fetid already.

    Just think if you can…of a whole university filled with bright eyed spunky individuals, going out to our world be doctors, lawyers, statesmen and CEO's who all have similar philosophical foundation to that which created Ms. Aliza's blood smeared philosophy that she so eloquently defends in her explanation of her 'art project'. Nothing good can come of it.

    I find it terrifying.
    d~

  • Anonymous

    Yawn on the art, but you have created an entertaining whirlwind. Way to jerk everyone's chain!

  • Eric

    Spin it however you like, but the intentional premeditative destruction of life (just for the sake of your twisted definition of art) is a shame. You are NOT a pioneer, breaking societal constraints on what is the proper use of various organs. Rather, just like the kid who kills a small animal just because he can, you assert your dominance over something that can’t speak or fend for itself. The most innocent and potentially benefiting of all creation…a developing child. Funny how those who hold such little regard for life are always ones who have been born already. Shame on you!

  • deacibi

    Please, let's just ignore this poor creature. In just 24 hours, she's managed to become tiresome.

  • emperor has no clothes

    Who is this idiot named "Chase O"? Are you a Yalie too?

  • Mike

    Huh?

    You certainly think of yourself as brillaint.

    Your act is pure evil, pure self-indulgence, pure cynicism.

    You have singlehandedly brought your generation to a new all-time low.

    PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE let your next art project be your self-sterilization!!!!

  • Laura

    Pitiful and pathetic. I guess blowing a guy's head off could be considered art as well.

  • OMG

    You are obviously hugely impressed with your own intelligence, Aliza (as are your friends anon and Chase O). Eloquent as your rationale may seem, it's a bunch of crap. The fact that you didn't know whether or not you were pregnant doesn't change the REALITY that you either were pregnant or were not.

  • anon.

    so what exactly are the ovaries and uterus for, then?

  • George Pirpiris

    When I was in college I took alot of acid and wrote rambling rants, they may have sounded like this tripe.

  • CP

    Man, I wish I could have turned in tripe like this for my senior essay.

  • Anonymous

    Is this some delayed way to celebrate that first menstruation that your mother so callously ignored in favor of her "then boyfriend"?
    While the fate of the embryos is ambiguous (wether they were created or destroyed), you made sure your fate was unambiguous by testing the "fabricators" (nice way to depersonalize the men) for STD's. Nice.
    The possibility of a new life was sacrificed for the chance to "stimulate discussion about the form and function of the human body" and a senior art project. An embryo as a politicized art project.
    Life subjugated to art as a political statement? Who are you? Nero?

  • Anonymous

    She's probably going to make a ton of money when she sells her "art" project.
    1)If it's fake, she's a ruthless businesswoman who doesn't care about the Yale name.
    2)If it's real, she's still a ruthless businesswoman

  • AJ

    It's not that brilliant, it's not wonderful, it's nothing that hasn't been said before, it's not shocking, it's not sick, it's nothing but someone who doesn't have to work fulltime, who doesn't live the average American's experience, who has the luxury of attending an Ivy League school, who is a part of the elite crowd at an elite college and has plenty of time to do things non-elite people wouldn't even think of because we're working too hard every day, forty to sixty hours a week, paying our rent, paying our bills, working our asses off to get what this girl has been given to her on a silver platter. And yet she tries to show us what life is considered and what it isn't considered? I think we know, Aliza, thanks for the offer but we know what the reality of life is because we live it and you simply don't.

  • il ny a pas hors du Aliza

    Gosh, all my doubts about even the possibility of "understanding" "the real" (as opposed to the…) dispelled by today's revelation that I not only have an understanding, but that it's a "normative understanding”…Yay!

    Luckily: "It creates an ambiguity that isolates the locus of ontology to an act of readership."

    "This ambivalence makes obvious how the act of identification or naming . the act of ascribing a word to something physical . is at its heart an ideological act, an act that literally has the power to construct bodies."

    So I guess "Deconstruction for Dummies" got tedious after the first few pages. Or perhaps I should say "One can nearly localize that liminal moment of abruption in which the Deconstructive Aliza was sundered from both the palimpsest of the text -- her reading as text -- and from that Aliza still yearning for a dialectic coming together (or a snack and a nap.)"

    A central difficulty in her descriptions lies precisely in such language. The notion of naming as an act of control or at its core an act supporting the very coming into being of the named is a central one, but it is not of necessity any more of an "ideological act" than any other encounter with the world as act. And to identify that naming as being "to something physical" as having the " the power to construct bodies" is not only clumsy, but acknowledges a continuing subscription to a metaphysics of presence precisely contrary to the point of the power of the act.

  • Anon

    Aliza says "it is a myth that ovaries and a uterus are meant to birth a child." Exactly what other purpose does she think they serve?

    Not everybody with ovaries and uterus needs to have a child or even to engage in heteronormative sexual acts. However, no amount of using words like "ontology" can substitute for plain reason and facts.

  • Recent Loss

    Obviously this "person" has no idea of the pain surrounding a real miscarriage. I am currently expelling the baby that my husband and I tried for 18 months to conceive. This "person" has thrown our pain, and the pain of thousands of others out there who struggle to conceive, in our faces by the callous "art" of a miscarriage. This is not art. This is a blatant misunderstanding of the real emotion surrounding the loss of a pregnancy. This "person" and all of her supporters should be ashamed. This is not art.

  • Anonymous

    "…it is a myth that ovaries and a uterus are 'meant' to birth a child."

    In keeping with this piece of brilliance, I am going to test the "myth" that my lungs were meant to facilitate the transfer of oxygen from the air into my red blood cells, by jumping into the nearest lake and holding my breath. And I'm going to call it art…

  • Gayla

    Yale is not really going to let this go on? I can't imagine they won't hear from alumni/donors who graduated in better days… This is incredibly damaging to Yale's image. I can't imagine not thinking of this every time I hear the name "Yale" now…..ick…

  • Yale '10

    You are sick and mentally ill. I hope you get help.

  • Mike N.

    I'll admit, this had me wound up for a while. Until I read her paper and realized she honestly has no real idea about what she is doing besides stirring up trouble.

    It's too bad she didn't think it over more, though. If the piece truly contains her blood "smeared with vaseline" then I suspect it will be destroyed by the local board of health as toxic medical waste.

    In that end, all that will be left of her art is this short amount of furor and possibly the dismissal of her adviser for the embarrassment and damage to Yale's reputation.

  • Alamo

    It is amazing the price you pay for a Yale education and they don't even teach punctuation.

  • Kezia

    You present that your piece hinges on the 'fact' that it is ambiguous whether or not you had a miscarriage. That confuses me, because in my mind even if I can't ever know for sure, there is certainly a fact of the matter. So I just cannot accept your postulate that the ambiguity " is embodied in the physicality of the object." It seems to me that what is embodied in the physicality is exactly the fact of whether or not you had a miscarriage, something that could have been determined at the time it occurred.

    But let's say we accept that there is an ambiguity that is so deeply invested in the physical form simply because you have not provided the facts we would need to make an absolute judgment, I don't understand how that leads to the conclusion that you have destroyed the myth that the uterus and ovaries are meant to bear a child. Also, I don't understand how that 'myth' is damaging in a parallel way to the myth that penises are 'meant' to be in vaginas.

    I hope you'll understand my comments as someone who wants to understand interpret this piece in a positive way and defend it in the face of so many who call for its complete rejection.

  • and I thought my major was a joke

    not only is your "art" disgusting, but sickening. also, your op-ed was boring. on one level, I don't care about your point, because what you actually did was so incredibly offensive that it doesn't matter. morality - and simple human empathy - are apparently, in your world, not as important as art.
    on another level, you're embarrassing everyone at yale. I can't believe we are getting the same degree -- I actually produced something valuable and real.
    finally, you've given all the art majors a bad name.
    nicely done.

  • Houstonian

    I can see what she's trying to do here, especially when she says this, "The reality of miscarriage is very much a linguistic and political reality, an act of reading constructed by an act of naming — an authorial act."

    Everything about the pro-choice movement is a play on word. Blood vs products of conception… Miscarriage vs Induced Abortion…. It's a good point, but wow how imoral of a way to go about it. I hope she construed up a fake reality rather than actually do what she claims. Is she really doing a blood test? Crazy!

    This girl is psycho! She is trying to take what we see as decent, moral, and pure and say that it's completely wrong since our body parts allow for more than one function.

    "it is a myth that ovaries and a uterus are “meant” to birth a child."

    Umm… sure our body parts allow us to sin, but that doesnt mean taht we should!

  • Anonymous

    I'm so sorry you aren't able to formulate a straightforward sentence. Fortunately, I managed to make it through college without being brainwashed by such deconstructionist nonsense. I take heart from Professor's comments (# 24) that education may not have disintegrated completely.

  • jonathan d

    Aliza, congrats on going through with your process. I don't think I could possibly write something about your project that would ever please you, so I won't try.

    And if y'all folks really care about human life, go feed someone in Haiti and stop haranguing this serious artist.

  • Anon

    She's gotten the attention and sparked the debate she wanted.

    I don't approve, but wow--we all played into her plan.

  • Alum

    This will hurt Yale's yield rate by 0.2%.

  • oy

    Interesting. However, not interesting enough. Your "art" is merely trivializing abortion. You are undermining everything that not only Pro-Lifers fight for, but Pro-Choicers as well!!! Abortion is not a matter to be taken lightly. You are disrespectful, ignorant and selfish.

  • Kate

    is is long, but I wrote a stunning conclusion, I promise!)

    So okay, you're making things intentionally ambiguous.
    (Because preganacy doesn't have to be a mystery. And, there's no necessary mystery
    surrounding the blood itself either.
    I'm no scientist, but I'm pretty sure implanted cells look a little different
    from menstrual blood. I mean, you'd have to go looking for it, but it'd still be there.
    Something to think about if you've really got it all saved like you say you do.
    (-But I'll get back to that-)

    But I don't see how creating ambiguity reclaims anything at all from
    "the heteronormative structures that seek to naturalize it"
    I mean, the press/public response has had no trouble labeling
    what you're claiming to do here. (Whether they support or oppose this project)

    You say that the point is that "these organs can do other things, can have other purposes."
    But what "other thing," what "other purpose" has been shown?
    What happened is either menstruation or an "induced miscarriage."
    Either way, neither one of those is really new. Abortion was already invented. So don't
    expect to get the patent rights on it. (I'm with the commenter who said that the pill
    better illustrated the idea that uteruses don't have to be making babies all the time)

    ALso, I can't think of anything more "heteronormative" than relying on sperm
    for this project. (and to get your degree!)
    You can call them "fabricators" but I think we all know where sperm comes from.

    Not that I think any of this is real. It doesn't have to be, so why would
    you even have to bother?

    But moreover, the premise that you could get these "totally private" donors'
    sperm within 30 minutes of needing it is kind of unbelievable.

    Not that I don't find it interesting that the press doesn't even think of taking
    one second to villanize these guys. Obviously abortion is all the lady's responsibility.
    Even though these "donors" totally knew what this project is about. There, I've found a real point to your project, and you can have that on the house, I guess….Although as far
    as performance art goes, there are a lot less convoluted ways to make the point that in society's eyes when sex gets ugly (rape, unwanted pregnancy, don't make me go on) it's the lady's fault.
    Maybe I'll make that art project--And I'll make a million dollars! (why not) And when I do, it'll be real damn clear.)

    Don't get me wrong, I want to superimpose this idea on your project so bad.
    I'm waiting for you to turn the tables on this thing. Hoping this flaky
    article was just a big old red herring.
    That can happen in performance art, right?

    But if not, well, that still leaves a million dollars left for me.
    (it'll go to charity, I promise)

  • copell

    As someone said before me, Hitler was an artist, and So was Nero (a musical artist that is) both were horrible people. You can't justify what you did at all. Prochoicers can't even justify this. Miscarriage isn't the correct term for it. MURDER is. And to think people go to jail for murdering and thats where you should be.
    People like you who just throw away a human life for selfish reasons make me sick. Especailly since some women are sterile and desperately want to have kids and CAN'T. You need help, a lot of it.

  • b.g.

    I'm not a fan of po-mo or performance art, but anything that puts a weed up the ass of militant pro-liars is a good thing, IMO.

    Oh, and to #64: Boo hoo hoo, another infertile woman who thinks the whole world has to cater to her hurt feeeewings by outlawing abortion and never talking about it. Funny how a 22-year-old art student isn't really a "person," to use your sneer quotes, but a hypothetical zygote is…typical pro-liar "logic." Nobody owes you a baby, lady. Deal with it.

  • copell

    Oh yeah… good luck explaining this to the childern you decide are worthy enough to live. (if u have any)

  • habitualmiscarrier

    "The reality of miscarriage is very much a linguistic and political reality, an act of reading constructed by an act of naming — an authorial act."

    No-the reality of miscarriage for me was 48 hours of contractions and agonizing pain-both physical and mental-that no matter what you do you cannot stop your body from doing what it must-expell this tiny being that you carried within for a few short weeks, Yet it was that very process of miscarrying that left me with a sense of awe over the body's innate ability to take care of itself.

    My first miscarriage was so painful I would say I would wish that pain upon noone-but I can now say I would wish that pain upon you-since you have absolutely no real knowledge of what you speak. It was the one time in my life I thought I would die from the pain alone-until a shot of Demerol kiicked in. I would wish you the pain without the Demerol.

    Funny-for years I have had an image in my head of a ceramic piece (I am an artist too) which would represent that first horrible miscarriage. You just gave me the impetus to finally get it out there. Thank you.

    Of course my piece won't get into a gallery because I don't have an art degree from Yale.

  • JN

    "These organs [ovaries and uterus] can do other things, can have other purposes, and it is the prerogative of every individual to acknowledge and explore this wide realm of capability."

    Oh, I get it: ovaries and uterus equal tube of red paint.

  • Marissa

    So, underneath your excessive use of the Microsoft Word thesaurus, let's see what you were trying to say…

    Your project was an attempt to redefine the function of the uterus. All right, then. How exactly did you redefine it? You didn't do jack. I hate to break this to you Aliza, but we ALREADY KNOW that the uterus is capable of miscarrying and shedding menstrual blood.

    This is like somebody taking a piss into a cup, holding it up, and shouting, 'BEHOLD! I HAVE REDEFINED THE FUNCTION OF THE BLADDER!'

    Epic fail.

  • Patrick Moore

    yale will die a slow death. Through its own words yale stands for everything; thus it stands for nothing. As an alumni, I am disgusted.

    God forgive yale. Only He can.

    Patrick Moore
    SY '96

  • Anonymous

    First of all, #79, "b.g." :
    "anything that puts a weed up the ass of militant pro-liars is a good thing, IMO."
    Including intentional abortion obsessively repeated 9 times?
    As for your comments to #64, well; did it make you feel good to "put a weed up her ass"?
    Whenever fortune lays you low, as it will, I pray you will be surrounded by #64's rather than #79's.

  • saddened

    Only in America would they call this art.

  • MehtaJee

    This is sickening, and I can only hope that sooner or later, someone will find some law that's been broken and will test this horror for her blood to determine if it is real or not. Then, I hope she will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. Will that ever happen? Probably not. But how different the world would be if such Hitleresque people didn't exist!

    Do not forget the likes of the Nazis, who, in the name of Art and Science, tortured fellow human beings to death. How exactly are you different from, say, Ed Gein, who formed his victim's skins into lampshades and death masks? I suppose he found alternative uses for the body as well.

    This sad piece of human excrement is a serial killer waiting to happen. In fact, she's started already.

  • Anonymous

    Yawn -- to borrow an expression, just another PERIOD PIECE…

  • Max Clarke

    Your art is about naming. While what you did to create this project is troubling to me (and, judging by the comments before this one, to other readers as well), my comment has instead to do with your stated goal. You say, and are correct to say, that your effort attempts to nuance our understanding of the "act of identification or naming." Yet, in this editorial and in your project overall, you do not pause to discuss your own acts of naming: using the word 'miscarriages', for instance, instead of 'abortions'. Or, more obviously, 'fabricators' for 'men'.

    The implications of these choices are important: together, they may be interpreted to represent the ideological quilt, the foundation if you will, on which your project is constructed. And insofar as you fail to offer a coherent explication or justification for this foundation, I think your art has failed itself too.

    You seem to want the consumers of this art to be unsure of the identity of the blood--was it blood involved in the narrative of reproduction, or blood that was uninvolved in this narrative? And yet, even while urging ambiguity, you give yourself away in this editorial's first line: "For the past year, I performed repeated self-induced miscarriages."

    Here the ambiguity is jarringly removed from the very beginning; your art doesn't (for me, at least) raise issues of identity, because you have revealed from the start the true nature of your bodily effluence.

    You write that "Because the miscarriages coincide with the expected date of menstruation (the 28th day of my cycle), it remains ambiguous whether the there was ever a fertilized ovum or not." (sic) Here, you are simply wrong.

    You correctly state that "the act of ascribing a word to something physical — is at its heart an ideological act." But you already have ascribed a word--'miscarriage'--to your experience. Did you even bother to look up the word ‘miscarriage’ before you used it so callously? The Oxford English Dictionary defines it thusly: “The spontaneous expulsion of a fetus from the womb before it is viable.”

    Therefore, there’s no ambiguity as to “whether the there was ever a fertilized ovum or not.” Your project is cloaked in a vocabulary that assumes an interpretation along a ‘narrative of reproduction’.

    You write yourself that, at one level, this project is "a myth". Indeed, you say later that "The performance exists only as I chose to represent it." This latter claim is patently untrue; you write using words that have been encoded with other, established meanings. You fail to control for these other definitions as they poison your artistic endeavors with bias. What could have been a perhaps pristine endeavor has been marred.

    Max Clarke
    Northwestern Univ.

  • MattAllen

    In the end what real purpose is this “art” serving? Just because something is said in a new and different way does not make it valid. This is a perverted and disturbed version of art, from a perverted and disturbed mind.
    You wanted to start a conversation about the human body, writing, “…it is a myth that ovaries and a uterus are “meant” to birth a child.” So, what are they meant to do? I can think of no other conceivable purpose for them. You are not showing any new function of the female reproductive system, but you are however affirming the fact that it can not be used for anything else, your “art” is self-defeating.
    You also belittle pro-choice supporters like myself. Abortion should not be the brush in which you use to paint. It should be a private decision that is thought through responsibly and respectfully. You have taken the right to choose, which sometimes dangles by a thread in this country, and made a mockery of it. It is truly baffling what little concept you have of the world around you.
    This “art” piece should be considered an outrageous affront to everyone who considers themselves an artist.
    As for your op-ed piece, you are a master of the pretentious.

  • Cat

    The main thing Ms. Shvarts has done with her little project is attempted to push societal norms, just like others have done, much more successfully. There will always be debate on hot topics such as abortion, regardless of whether its done in a doctor's office for "truly" personal reasons or in a bathtub for art.
    On a personal note, Ms. Shvarts, I find your art to be simple, choice, completely unoriginal (you were going for most shocking really and nothing else) and you will never stand the test of time like true artists. You should have thought about your project more thoroughly than a couple of minutes. Now you're backpedaling with pretentious babble that can continue infinitely just to get a grade. Any college graduate, including myself, can attest to that. Enjoy your attention.

  • anon

    For all of those who doubt the talent on display here--perhaps those who describe Aliza's ideas as "high-winded nonsense"--go and register for a library card (or if you're a Yalie, then go and acquaint yourself with SML for what sounds like it'll be the first time) and pick up a copy of Ian Hacking's _Historical Ontology_ (HUP) and *read* it. Be careful tho: his essay "Making Up People" might actually blow your tiny minds. If it does, then I guess we're all winners.

    For those of you who have stooped to describing Aliza as "sick, or depraved or whatever, or who espouse the canonical metaphors and narrative lines you've absorbed from our "political" debates, and never thought to question, many works suggest themselves: Freud's _Civilization and its Discontents_, or if you're rightly concerned about your own inability to think independently then M.Foucault's _Discipline and Punish_ should alleviate your more obvious symptoms.

    And remember folks Aliza's well made point about how this project "isolates the locus of ontology to an act of readership" surely reverberates all the more loudly in light of the fact few of us adding to this carpet of verbiage (myself included) have actually witnessed the physical exhibit. We're all effectively ontologizing through acts of readership--few of us (except a handful of YDN journalists and a smattering of Yale administrators have seen this piece).

    Clearly this project is iridescent: it shines a light on both our most deeply held assumptions about our worlds, and also, for some of us, the basis on which our knowledge is based.

  • sad for her

    Mama clearly didn't hug her enough.

    What passes for an education in this day is beyond me.

  • mentally ill

    Sounds like a candidate for mental floss. Seriously, is anyone trying to get this girl some help? She clearly needs it.

  • b.g.

    Hey, Ricardo…this is a hoax. It would have been biologically impossible to do what Shvarts claims to have done.

    But even if it hadn't been, guess what? *It's still her body.* The zygotes -- not "babies," not fetuses or even yet embryos, but zygotes -- would have been hers to do with as she would.

    And I have no qualms about what I said in my previous comment. I am so, so tired of infertile women who think that the entire world ought to twist itself into knots to avoid offending them. So you couldn't conceive. Adopt a kid or move on. Nobody is obliged to carry an unwanted pregnancy to term and offer you the kid on a silver platter. Get *over* yourself -- your desire to cuddle something does not trump my desire to not ever have children.

    "Whenever fortune lays you low, as it will, I pray you will be surrounded by #64's rather than #79's."

    I'm so, so scared by your entreaties to an imaginary being in the sky. But I probably will be surrounded by #64s, since nursing is a pink-collar profession and therefore tends to attract the Oprah-watching, scrapbooking, "OMG GOTTA HAVE A BAAAYBEEEE!!!" types. Ugh.

  • simbodoot

    you're all a bunch of manipulated weirdos. You've ALL become the art project

  • Sarah

    #79…what you s said to #64 is horrible. she is going through the worst thing she can imagine and yet you are a complete jerk to her. you must have been one of aliza's donors.

    aliza…you are a very sick girl. you are not even worthy of being able to use the term miscarriage or abortion. a miscarriage is a very traumatic experince that is very emotional and painful (i know…i've had one and it's made on impact on me for life). abortion is a choice women make who find themselves in terrible situations. those women do not go get pregnant on purpose so they can have an abortion. what you did is MURDER!!!!!!!!!!!! PRE-MEDITATED MURDER!!!!
    i have my masters and read through your explanation and all it is is garbage! you say nothing, you explain nothing. all you accomplished with that is to make yourself look even more stupid that you already do.
    i hope you are sterile and someday very much desire to have children but can't b/c of your stupid actions over the last year.
    you disgrace all women! esp those who have had the real experience of miscarriage or abortion.
    may God have mercy on your soul when you stand before him! and may he be with any babies that you killed.

  • sodak

    This truly makes me a little embarrassed to have an art degree.

  • Lisa Lalumandier

    I think the comment of the pro choice person #3 and #87 pretty much sum it up for me. I'm pro choice too…..thanks for selfishly screwing up women's rights they've fought for years. I'm not so sure you can't be prosecuted for this….after all…we can't use fetuses for stem cell research…why should one individual gain recognition and be able to call this art? Just because you call this art doesn't mean it is…..Your total incencitivity for women who have actually faced this real choice is incredible.

  • yale 08

    Aliza, I'm so sorry biology decided to give you a uterus and ovaries. It's seriously a cruel force of nature that gives the XX organisms the capacity to create and carry offspring for future generations. And it's even more cruel that the uterus and ovaries were created for that purpose. Let's get rid of all reproduction and bring on the end of life as we know it.

    The ancients worshipped the goddess because of her reproductive capabilities. Misogynists strive to oppress females by saying they are not deserving of respect because of their reproductive abilities. True feminism celebrates the beauty of the woman's unique role in childbearing.

    Congratulations on promoting misogyny. The uterus and ovaries are so awful we should get rid of them completely. Everyone should undergo sex change surgeries to become men instead of women.

    Go womyn's center and Aliza. Teach nature against its sexist capacity to give women ovaries and a uterus.

  • marc

    i support the artist & will always support a woman's right to choose -- her autonomy over her own body & reproductive system.

  • Recent Alum

    Guys, is it not obvious to you that this is a parody of the way extreme leftists think? This sentence really gives it away:

    "As an intervention into our normative understanding of “the real” and its accompanying politics of convention, this performance piece has numerous conceptual goals. The first is to assert that often, normative understandings of biological function are a mythology imposed on form. It is this mythology that creates the sexist, racist, ableist, nationalist and homophobic perspective, distinguishing what body parts are “meant” to do from their physical capability. The myth that a certain set of functions are “natural” (while all the other potential functions are “unnatural”) undermines that sense of capability, confining lifestyle choices to the bounds of normatively defined narratives."

  • Sarah

    b.g (#96)…i feel so bad for your patients. you are a nurse but have absolutely no compassion. that is terrible! i sincerely hope that you do not work with pregnant women. you will scar them even more if you are around them when their child dies.
    and obviously you need to relearn info…just because you have a miscarriage, it does not mean that you are infertile. and as a person who has lost 2 childern, most women with loses do NOT have the mindset of the world owes me a child.
    we will always be offended by moron's like your buddy aliza but we are better b/c we know how to take the high road. we don't ask others to pity us. we just ask that we get the same respect others do when their loved ones die.
    and obviously you will never understand b/c you don't want children. in that case, you need to butt out b/c you have no clue what it's like and never will. you're right…our want doesn't outweigh your not wanting. both sides are valid. that is your choice, and ours is ours so don't tell us to get over it and adopt.
    why don't you go find your buddy and fabricate something for her next idiotic project!!! it's morons like you that just fuel fires of persons like her.

  • Rachel S

    Brilliant Explanation.

    To all those who think this is the epitome of "misogynism", "derange"-edness, etc. please go read a newspaper.

    Protesters - If you think artwork is what you need to fight against, your ignorance and naivety are heartbreaking.

  • WhyNot

    I didn't read all the comments so if it's been said already please forgive me, but to everyone saying how disgusting this is, how she's such a bad person, how it's against God, etc. you all are missing one little thing…did she really do it or not? Given that she said that there is no record of anything, the name of the drug she used to abort, the names of the people who donated, etc. and all she did say was she had them check for STDs, used a 'needleless syringe' and merely took the abortive medication on the day she would normally get her period. Well, it's all her word against the world. So give it a break. Now if you all are saying the idea of someone doing that, if it was indeed done, disgusts you then okay, I can understand that, but in this case, no one knows if she's serious or a creative liar (or artist).

    That's just my opinion anyway, based on the key 'fact' stated in the article.

  • Anonymous

    People, people, people, listen to #106 and #40. We're being Sokal-hoaxed: this whole thing is likely a fabrication produced merely to freak people out, and maybe to make fun of how ridiculous art can get these days. Note that Yale admins met with her and let her go without ordering an arrest, an expulsion, or psychiatric treatment. They are on record as calling this "performance art," so she must have told them that she didn't really do it, and her art project is based entirely on producing a sensational mindfuck. It's working--people are buying it, and tempers are flaring.

  • anonymous

    # 84 My goodness , what you said is cruel. I quote you below .#64 was describing her emotional pain from a miscarriage. Do you have no compassion?

    I'm not a fan of po-mo or performance art, but anything that puts a weed up the ass of militant pro-liars is a good thing, IMO.

    Oh, and to #64: Boo hoo hoo, another infertile woman who thinks the whole world has to cater to her hurt feeeewings by outlawing abortion and never talking about it. Funny how a 22-year-old art student isn't really a "person," to use your sneer quotes, but a hypothetical zygote is…typical pro-liar "logic." Nobody owes you a baby, lady. Deal with it.

  • JK

    I really appreciate this clear-headed essay, which helps confirm that the artist had a serious intention for the piece, not merely as an attention-mongering stunt. However, I do think that the connection was very weak between the first part of this essay (regarding the sense-making of ambiguity) and the second part. The attempted connection to what sexual organs are "meant" to produce was shaky at best, and felt tacked-on. It made the project sound a bit more 'undergraduate' than it needed to. I just don't think the ambiguity of period/miscarriage really touched on societally-determined purposes of the body. If anything, that interpretation only arises from the shocked reactions of the public, which views negatively the idea of induced miscarriages. This, however, belies the idea that the piece was not intended to shock. The second part of the artist's essay is absolutely invalid unless you take into account the shocked reactions.

  • Kate

    While I understand that the human body can inspire art, I fail to realize why a miscarriage would be considered a form of art. What is artistic about the death of a human life?

    Art should celebrate life, not the bloody removal of it.

  • Katherine

    I have to take a little issue with some of this:

    "For me, the most poignant aspect of this representation — the part most meaningful in terms of its political agenda (and, incidentally, the aspect that has not been discussed thus far) — is the impossibility of accurately identifying the resulting blood."

    Actually, you COULD take a pregnancy test that looked for HcG (human chorionic gonadotrophin) in your blood. Even a pee stick could detect it, but for sure a blood test would find even 3 ppm. HcG is produced when the fertilized egg implants in the uterine wall, and it would be detectable, albeit in small amounts, two weeks after fertilization.

    "Because the miscarriages coincide with the expected date of menstruation (the 28th day of my cycle), it remains ambiguous whether the there was ever a fertilized ovum or not."

    Only because you didn't test, not because it's not possible to know.
    You might want to do a little more research on the physiology and hormonal markers of conception and pregnancy. Try looking at natural family planning books and information about early pregnancy. Get to know your medium a little better.

    Katherine
    MFA, 2006
    mother, 2007

  • student

    Try inseminating yourself and not aborting; then see if you can identify yourself as something other than pregnant.

  • Anon

    Anyone who finds this letter intelligent is easily impressed by fancy words.

  • Will

    Whatever this thing turns out to be, it's a huge waste of time and effort, and this person and her advisor(s) should be medicated. Just conceiving this idea is repulsive enough, but wrapping it in hyper- academic crap language just makes it that much worse. Surely, an education should do more than enable someone to do more than this…What a shame all around.

  • dunno about you, girl…

    just because no one understands you doesn't make you an artist…

    even if this is just a performance piece and the insimination never happened, i think you did this without thinking it through. while i find your statement interesting…i agree that its a crock meant to explain away something that is unfathomable.

    while i don't necessarily side with the "god factions" and the "you're evil" statements…i think you are misguided…pretentious…probably elitist and more than a little dumb.

    but what do i know…i am not an 'artist'.

  • Lame Project

    This whole project is fiction.
    Her advisors wouldn't have signed off on it if it was real.
    She stirred the pot of controversy and the public responded.
    Wow--the expected reponse was created.
    Where's the art in that?
    All she did was provide a forum for people to express their own specific views. She deserves an "F."
    This project lacked inspiration from the very beginning. Sad, lackluster attempt at manipulation on a grand scale.
    Yale--I'm disappointed this ever saw the light of day.

  • Skeptic

    Of course, with such pretentious twits as Ms. Shvartz, the "normative laws of society" should only be "transgressed" when *she* feels like breaking them.

    Just try and steal her purse and see. She'll call the cops; she won't give a damn that you were trying to show that property is "just a social construction" and test the "limits of the normative social taboos against stealing".

    Stealing purses, after all, is no less (or more) a "transgressive work of taboo-breaking art" than Shvarts' nonsense. Come to think of it, it'll probably won't be long before some "performance artist" attempts *that*, too.

    I suggest giving the next guy convicted of robbery in New Haven three to five years… and an "A" in a Yale art course.

    P.S.

    All this assumes Schvarts isn't simply putting us on, either as a parody or for publicity (or both), on the "as long as they spell my name right" principle.

  • JAWs

    I find this appalling. It’s absolutely disgusting; not in medium, but in meaning. You apparently have no regard for human life, and should exterminate yourself, in that case. I have always been pro-choice, but this is ridiculous, this is taking it to the extreme. You need to be committed. You are on a whole new level of sociopath, that I can’t even comprehend as an artist myself. You are a horrible person. People are out there trying their damness to become pregnant, to have a family, and you are nullifying the experiences of grief with this self-proclaim art. It is the worst case of dehumanization that I have ever seen. And I’m sure you are proud of yourself, getting this kind of response, that’s what you were aiming for, wasn’t it?

  • Jules

    I do not feel that this should be allowed as her senior project and to be honest if she needs it to graduate I would not feel a bit sorry for her if she did not. The whole thing real or not is disgusting and disgrasful.

  • Joe Science

    Aliza is wrong when she says that there is an "impossibility of accurately identifying the resulting blood". It is in fact quite possible to perform a test (actually, more than one kind) to determine whether the blood was simply the result of a normal menstruation, or a miscarriage.

  • Michele Dauber

    My sympathies to your parents for wasting their hard-earned money sending you to Yale. Imagine being at Yale and this self-indulgent pile of crap is what you decide to spend your time on. Art school is always a risky proposition (my daughter is RISD 2006) but in your child's case, it seems to have done more harm than good. My condolences on both your talentless child and your wasted dollars.

  • a reflection

    "This ambivalence makes obvious how the act of identification or naming — the act of ascribing a word to something physical — is at its heart an ideological act, an act that literally has the power to construct bodies. In a sense, the act of conception occurs when the viewer assigns the term “miscarriage” or “period” to that blood."

    Well, not exactly. By calling the act one way or the other we don't yet alter its nature. (I wish life were so easy! I would just call myself a 'billioner' and wouldn't look for a job after graduation.) There are some objective features of reality that make an object eligible for correspondence to a term. A lion is not yet a rabbit if we decide to call it 'rabbit'. The decision upon the word (the linguistic sign) may be arbitrary, but the term (or the concept) that corresponds to the object is not: It depends, at least in part, upon the features the object has. A lion is different from a rabbit, if only because a lion could eat you. (Deconstructionists took power of linguistic expression to the max, and claimed that there is no matter of fact about reality independent from the signification that we assign to it, but this doctrine is very unpopular among philosophers of language today because its best characteristic is it shock-value -- otherwise it is simply implausible.)

    In Aliza's case, it is the concept of abortion that is at issue. (call it 'xyz', 'shmabortion' or 'rabbit') According to the common understanding of this concept (which is indeed vague (not ambiguous), as most concepts are), this particular case is, ironically, fairly clear. If the egg was inseminated, and Aliza's intervention prevented its further development into a baby, then Aliza aborted; if, on the other hand, the egg was not inseminated, after all, Aliza just had a period.

    Don't let the issue of uncertainty be conflated with the issue of term-designation either. The fact that neither Aliza nor we *know* about what transpired doesn't affect the matter of fact about what actually happened. Perhaps an analysis of the blood samples could even establish this fact.

    In my suggestion, I resist Aliza's invitation to eradicate the objectivity of conceptualization. I do this because the despite the prima facie quandary that the project presents, it lacks the rigor to put the puzzle properly.

    A better art-project for this purpose would be to shit one's pants before leaving one's house in the morning, and then, query the passers-by whether one can be properly called a shit-show. Now, that is indeed vague. Or even ambiguous.

  • enjointhis

    I'll join the many others who soundly condemn this project. It has the subtlety of a three-year-old child pounding on a tin drum, demanding attention from her elders. And it mocks what can be a terrifying and heartbreaking experience. I'm sorry, Ms. Schvarts, but the word "sophomoric" best distills the artistic vision of this project.

    I reject those who wish you harm personally; I find that as repugnant as the thesis of your project. But I hope someday you will understand, both intellectually and emotionally, the offense you've inflicted on others.

  • epistemologist

    unless we posit a very hands-on deity in our metaphysics, bodily organs are not "designed for," "made for," "intended for," or even "best used for" anything at all, simply because there is nothing outside the physical world to determine. a cursory look at the evolution of a species shows that organs are used to serve different functions within different environments; some organs grow and others are eliminated; some organs change and others stay the same, some of the organs that stay the same do the same things, and some organs that stay the same do different things. this sort of thing happens all the time. many organs, such as the human heart and lungs, have necessary uses while we are alive, but to say that this is their "intention" invites the question "intended by who?" the artist's exhibit poses the question of whether her uterus and ovum can be used as art and an occasion for political discourse, and, judging from the fierce debate surrounding this piece, the answer is surely in the affirmative.

    to the women who have responded that the artist's piece trivializes the pain of miscarriage or abortion: why should someone having a different experience than you offend you? as someone who has worked in reproductive health, i have seen a variety of responses to pregnancy loss and termination, ranging from little pain to agony, joy to grief. a range of experiences exists. why is that a bad thing? you grief does not give you authority to dictate anyone else's experience or actions, nor does it shelter you from being challenged in a debate.

    to the people who freak out every six months about the horror that is performance art and how people who know about french theory and two-syllable and sociobiology are ruining america: let me know when you have something new to say.

    those concerned about certainty: the artist could have done a pregnancy test. she chose not to. she chose not to have the tissue examined. what is not observed is not known. she did not posit anywhere that she could not have known, just that her artistic project did not involve the pursuit of this knowledge.

  • Mouthpiece

    This is yet another blatant display of disgusting "performance art" on college campuses across the country. While this one certainly takes the cake, the vileness of many of the other instances is still, well, vile.

    "Birth control has nothing to do with, and even less to do with control"---Chesterton
    "The first thing a HEALTHY boy or girl learns about sex is that it is beautiful, and that it is dangerous"---Chesterton (emphasis mine)
    ""When such a critic says, for instance, that faith kept the world in darkness until doubt led to enlightenment, he is himself taking things on faith, things that he has never been sufficiently enlightened to doubt. That exceedingly crude simplification of human history is what he has been taught, and he believes it because he has been taught. I do not blame him for that; I merely remark that he is an unconscious example of everything that he reviles"---Chesterton

    It looks like Yale, et al, could use some reading from the ol' Apostle of Common Sense, GK Chesterton!

  • Michele

    #3 said what I was going to say (about words and reality) very well, and I am pro-life. I'll just add the comment that Aliza Shvarts has a lot in common with Jack Kevorkian. He is reported to have rendered paintings in blood. He's no more an artist than he is a doctor. Shvarts, take a lesson from that!

  • I love it

    Use your brains people. Obviously she did not inject herself with semen and take an abortion pill every month for 9 months in a row, and I doubt she used her own actual menstrual blood in this exhibit.

    She created an ambiguously fictitious story, crafted a sculpture and a narrative to support that story, and that was her project. Perfect - that's art.

    Art is supposed to generate debate. It's supposed to push the viewer's boundaries and force us to make decisions and interpretations about what we're seeing. Yes, part of what makes this project compelling is that it draws you in with its shock value. But, assuming you don't write it off with a knee-jerk reaction about the artist being a monster, I think it does exactly what the artist says it should.

    It forces the viewer to decide what is real, both factually (did she really do this to herself) and in the abstract sense (does the body have a purpose, does naming something actualize it, etc). Both the fictitious story and supporting narrative are intentionally ambiguous so that you can decide for yourself. Please don't think Aliza's word choices are anything but intentional. She's not fooling herself by substituting "forced miscarriages" for "abortions" or "fabricators" for "sperm donors". Those are deliberate choices. Everything about this is deliberate.

    To me the only thing she did not foresee was that this would be picked up by the national media and create a frenzy.

  • Madame Ojo

    Even though I'm a writer I rarely understand art-speak. But this project's scope and design moves me. And that's all I ask from Art. From the comments here it's easy to see our society needs more female artistic explorations and expressions of women's flesh. Yes, it's heavy and confusing--kind of like being a woman in our patriarchal culture. Anyway, I love it. Wish I could see it in person.

  • Anonymous

    b.g.- how can you argue the this woman (or any woman) has a right to do whatever they want to a zygote because it is "hers to do with as she would"?
    First of all, I don't believe that anyone can have ownership over a zygote because it will, in a very short time, become a human, and you can't own a human- that's illegal.
    Also, the zygote is not part of her body, its not a pimple, it doesn't just appear in her body, it takes a both a man and a woman to create a zygote. I've always found it odd that in the whole abortion debate it has always been viewed as the woman's choice to have an abortion. It takes two people to make a baby, but for some reason only one person gets to decide its fate, simply because it is stored in her body for the first nine months of its life. A woman has the right to decide she isn't ready to be a mother, but a man doesn't have the right to decide he is?
    One final thing, you imply that this act is somehow acceptable because the woman miscarried a zygote and not an embryo or a fetus. Using that line of thought you could justify the murder of a four year old by claiming that they weren't yet a productive adult member of society.

  • Jen

    It has been my experience that people who pack their writing with as many big vocabulary words as possible are hiding something: either a weak intellect, a bad idea, or both.

  • pro-choice '10

    Does she think that using the inflated language is going to distract anyone from how idiotic an art project this is? A uterus isn't meant to birth a child, Aliza? Last I checked mine wasn't up for doing much else. If she's actually going to try justifying this "art" she should at least try making sense.

    I realize that good art doesn't always have to cater to common tastes and that shock value can have merit, but this is just sick. All she's done is make it even harder to get pro-choice arguments taken seriously, and generally insult every woman who has actually had to experience an abortion or miscarriage without the benefit of choosing to do. I hope someday she realizes the extent of the damage she's done and gets some sort of treatment.

    Is it bad that it makes me really happy that this is the first thing every potential employer who googles her name will see?

  • 'o6 alum

    Hi Aliza,

    If you unveil that this has all been a fictitious parody, you will go down as one of the sharpest, kookiest, kraziest humanities students ever to attend Yale.

    I really hope this has all been a fictitious parody.

  • rational being

    Miss Shvarts helped me to see the light; I now realize how true it is that things are only defined by 'ascribing a word' to them. The true connoisseur of art realizes that her medium does not clear up the ambiguity of the functions of the uterus but instead that of the brain. One well versed in art would interpret her as saying,

    "it remains ambiguous whether there was ever a brain cell or not. The reality of the thought, both for myself and for the audience, is a matter of reading.

    This ambivalence makes obvious how the act of identification or naming — the act of ascribing a word to something physical — is at its heart an ideological act, an act that literally has the power to construct bodies. In a sense, the act of thinking occurs when the viewer assigns the term “thought” or “idea” to the activity of the brain."

    Thanks for clearing that up Miss Shvarts. I am forever indebted to you for this epiphany.

  • mississippi boy

    I love how your manifesto has all the traits of the deconstructionist nausea of the 20th century. Rather than being profound, you and your ilk think that your depth comes merely by negating-by putting things into parenthetics ("meant", "natural", etc.), you have somehow achieved something in your alleged dialogue/discourse [two words favored by your type]. This is no achievement-but academia loves rewarding this kind of bullshit. It is no achievement to paint everything, including the body, as an ideology. This is childish reductionism, not any serious thought. It is no achievement of be a "dialogue inducer", any more than to be an abortion inducer.
    You are a sad case, indeed, and have achieved nothing. Rather you have debased your body, which any masochist can do anywhere, having no need of a university or sanctioned forum.

  • Pandyora

    "In a sense, the act of conception occurs when the viewer assigns the term 'miscarriage' or 'period' to that blood."

    There is an easy way out of this supposedly deep postmodern conundrum…its called a pregnancy test.

  • MC

    I weep for this country that people who do the things you do and write the things that you write can even go to college, let alone Yale.

  • TheBucket

    Honestly, that is one of the most ridiculous explanations in the history of humanity. How you can explain away something that was clearly done to gain notoriety and generate discussion about yourself, not the subject matter at hand, the way you have done is simply beyond me.

    Others have said it well already, that both your "art" and explanation are undermined by the scientific realities which very well can determine what the outcome of the alleged inseminations were. To try and make everything ambiguous is to take away from the reality of both humanity and biology in general.

    Art can do many things, but it cannot destroy or even alter the real. You lose.

  • d.s.

    What ever the initial goal of this "artistic" pursuit was, the application of and subsequent results are mortifying. It is not a myth that a womans ovaries and uteris are meant for reproduction, it is fact, both scientifically, morally, and spiritually. It is appalling that a university would allow such a demonstration to be implemented however liberal we are.

  • Celestial Observer

    Wow! --Is this the kind of tedious, self-important, self-indulgent and pretentious pseudointellectual crapola that is passed off as study and/or enlightenment at Yale?

    "Higher Learning" has certainly come low in New Haven. ….And it would certainly appear that The University in America has "jumped the shark."…….

    Whoaaaaaaaaa, dude!

  • James

    Re #93,

    You call it "ontologizing through acts of readership," the rest of us would call it "jumping to conclusions on insufficient evidence;" no Yale or even Public Library registration needed.

  • Oh my

    This chick is barkin' mad.

  • K.T.

    <i>it is a myth that ovaries and a uterus are “meant” to birth a child.</i>

    Any respected biologist would disagree. Ms. Shvarts has constructed an argument completely at odds with science. Her arguments are reminiscent of "global warming deniers" who cite opinion rather than scientific fact.

    Yes, humans are able to utilize their body parts for anything they wish. Intelligent species have the ability to move beyond the designs of nature. But, to deny that reproductive organs were not "meant" to propagate the species is a quite astonishing statement from an undergraduate at one of the country's (supposedly) leading universities. Such propagation is the sole intention of the natural world for sexual organs. Again, we can use them for whatever we like, but they were indeed "meant" for procreation. Yale needs to significantly improve its science curriculum.

  • Professor Mocker

    This inane art project and accompanying essay is so perfect a confirmation of academic left-wing asshattery that I fully expect that the finale will occur when "Aliza" removes her rubber mask to reveal Newt Gingrich underneath.

  • akradiogirl

    I saw this comment once about a photographer that had filmed crying children and passed it off as art. It really applies to you…I don't remember the authors name….

    "An asshole who makes great art is an asshole who makes great art; but an asshole who makes lousy art is just an asshole"

  • Tom

    This is great, I haven't laughed this hard since about 10 minutes ago. Do you need an agent? How about an introduction to Britney? The best part is Yale won't refund your tuition.

  • A Fausch

    I am dumber for having read that. Can I get 1 minute back?

  • Mary Anne

    If your goal was to find another use for the ovaries didn't you accomplish the opposite? You routinely got "pregnant" and then caused a miscarriage. To me that sounds like the ovaries were working and doing the job they are meant to be doing.

    I understand that you are an angst ridden art student who has no marketable skills and wanted your 15 minutes of fame. Well as you can see from the huge amount of comments and the fact that I was discussing how disturbed you were in my Anatomy and Physiology class shows that you have achieved your fame.

    I am pro choice and I always have been and always will. but I also have the common sense to know that this is not an example of pro-choice or pro-life, anybody who would deliberately put herself up for the pain and anguish that comes with a real miscarriage is not respecting human kind or woman kind or anything else.

    From the sounds of your description you were never pregnant. I really don't think if you had been that you would have been able to go through with more then one of your experiments. The hormone changes that takes place during and immediately after a pregnancy are so strong, that unless you have some sort of serious psychological disorder would have affected you to some degree.

    I have had one miscarriage and one un wanted child and both were painful and I think that once you grow up and start to think you will realize how stupid this was.

  • your mother

    must be so happy that she spent soooo much money for your education only to have you turn out to be such a loon
    i bet you wear a che tee shirt and protest against the death penalty while drinking earth based teas and not eating meat
    your a mental case, and for your future i can only see you still wearing a hate bush pin and serving enviromental coffee at a starbucks
    if there is a god, it hates you

  • Danielle

    Well, I hope your big joke gets you a spiffy grade.

    Seriously effed up, though.

    /not even bothering with intelligent response to that silly nonsense.

  • SG

    You use many big words but you are still an idiot.

  • What???

    Ms. Shvarts, you are an angry and confused young woman. I hope you will consider some counseling.

    It certainly hope that your incoherent rambling is not representative of what academia has become.

  • Talibama

    The Aristocrats!!!

  • K.M.

    There was a time when it actually took talent to be an art student.

  • Anon

    Sigh….why is it that an "artist" - onw who attends Yale, no less, has no clue how reproduction works. Little hint: if you start bleeding at or around on the 28th day of your cycle, you're not pregnant. Likewise, aborticidents, including herbal ones, rarely, if ever work with one does a and *never* work within a 24 hour period, unless their are of medical-grade strength. Seriously, you taped yourself experiencing menses, nothing more, nothing less. Please get over yourself, and learn some decent biology while you're at it.

  • MT

    I support your free speech rights. I support your rights to do whatever the hell you want to your body.

    That said, you are a complete dipshit attention whore.

  • George Beinhorn

    The great Japanese conservationist Tanaka Shozo said, "The question of rivers is not a question of rivers but of the human heart." Most issues of values are. We know what's right or wrong not by rational analysis but by detached feeling, unswayed by purely personal emotion. You can rationalize anything; you can never deny the heart.

  • Albert Einstein

    “Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius — and a lot of courage — to move in the opposite direction.”

  • John

    "It is the intention of this piece to destabilize the locus of that authorial act, and in doing so, reclaim it from the heteronormative structures that seek to naturalize it."

    How long did it take you to write that sentence? That's impressive, you don't get any more pretentious than that.

  • IG

    You go to Yale? That school must take anyone! I'm going to apply right now…

  • rocketpants

    The author forgot to include an analysis of the generation of metastable electron traps in the near interfacial region of silicon on insulator buried oxides by ion implantation and their effects on threshold voltage and safe operating area characteristics of metal oxide semiconductor field effect transistors.

    Engineers can use big words too.

    Good luck finding a job with your art degree.

  • Maus

    Smell what the Rock is cookin'!

  • 4AK

    Brilliant hoax. Rivals the Sokal affair.

  • Shannon

    Girl is a a complete loon.

    Also. Odds are she was never pregnant in the first place. Bleeding after day 28 of your cycle generally indicates something called a "menstrual period".

  • kidgibeht

    This chick is crazy, no amount of well planned linguistic acrobatics can make me believe that this is an art piece. News flash, the penis and the vagina exist only to reproduce…didling yourself with a piece of plastic is unnatural (although not unenjoyable). I think this little birds needs to get over herself and her objections towards religious morality to see the pure science of what is "natural". It seems to me that she is an untalented artist who, after failing in every other meduim, decided that the only way to get any attention for herself (which is as unartistic as you can get) was to create something that would register with most public viewers as "disgusting". The fact that anybody at Yale went along with actually exhibiting this piece speaks volumes to the fact that they really don't care what kind of students they actually produce, as long as they get some press and tuition money. If you want to be an artist, do something artistic, use a paint brush to create dialouge…you, Aliza, are nothing more than a circus performer, bring out the guy who stabs himself and the bearded lady.

  • Smarter than you

    Was pottery class full?

  • Rhayader

    I am generally in favor of letting women decide what to do with their own bodies, but this verges on satanic even to someone like me who is not religious.

    Having an abortion in desperate circumstances is one thing. Repeatedly destroying budding life for the sake of "art" is a disgusting and evil act. I am not saying this from a specific religious or moral perspective. It is a simple matter of common sense and a basic respect for human life.

  • George

    Hopefully all of these self-induced miscarriages - done for whatever reason - will leave her unable to bear children in the future.

    More like her we do not need.

  • Fark

    It may be art…but don't expect me to sniff it.

  • anonymous

    Oh, please. You think because you go to Yale that it automatically makes you able to put your menstrual blood into a jar and you can call it "art"? Period/Miscarriage blood is art just as much as a starved, dead dog is. By that, I mean that it isn't art. It's just plain disgusting in every culture. Please, go put a tampon in and don't put your waste out on display, it's a disgrace to you, and it's sad that you can't see it that way. I tried to read this article with an unbiased mind, which I did, but afterwards, I realized that it's just gross. And I wonder where you get the idea of putting waste on display from, because it's probably the worst idea I've ever heard of.
    What, when you want to get a job, are you going to put "I consider my period blood art and tried to display it in public." on your resume? I'd hope not, because it's gross.

    Once again, I highly suggest putting a tampon in the next time you have this predicament of bleeding after 28 days. It's what a lot of girls do.

  • Klaus

    *golf clap*

    This essay is without doubt the finest source material for a ten round game of po-mo buzzword bingo that I have ever seen.

    The work itself is, like the rest of the artist's milieu, banal and tedious, reminiscent of low-grade outsider art and things eight year old boys produce when afflicted by chronic boredom and a propensity to mild violence.

    For your next project, you could just masturbate on camera while reading aloud from Derrida or Paglia; the effect is about the same.

    Yawn. Are your fifteen minutes up yet, or do you have another one-trick pony up your pretentious sleeve?

  • Bill L.

    What a moron. The only "myth" you have disproven is that Yale graduates are, at a minimum, capable of rational thought.

  • SC&A

    Any mental health professional will tell you that Aliza Shvarts nonsensical rant is no different from the 'stream of consciousness' rants of a paranoid schizophrenic.

    Her remarks are absurd and make no sense.

    Her written effort makes as much sense as her 'art.' It is also clear that Shvarts use of language is indicative of time spent in therapy.

    Sadly, it is also that time was wasted.

    Finally, Ms Shvartz needs to understand that being 'misunderstood' does not make her an artist.

  • Bonesman

    can't decide if this is crap or not.

    pics or it didn't happen.

    I bailed on art school partly because of all the crap art people were doing then. like literally collecting crap from home and putting it in a pile on the gallery floor…..

    this is at least a bit more thought out….

  • Anonymous

    Not only is this woman an idiot, so are those that call this article "brilliant". Try and sound intellectual all you want. You can create the same dialogue without using your uterus as an abortion factory. That part is for your own sick pleasure. I have a Fine Arts degree for the record--she still hasn't graduated.

  • bluesbob

    Geez, what a lot of drivel! Next time put away the thesaurus. You sound like an idiot. Your "art" piece is rather inane also.

  • Walt

    "But what's to become of man then? Without God and without a future life? Why, in that case everything is allowed. You can do anything you like!"

    - some relatively anonymous Russian author

  • Libelous1

    The only "fabricator" in this story is Aliza. And based upon the "unambiguous" quality of her writing and thinking skills, she also must have "fabricated" her way into Yale.

  • HellifIknow

    The principle flaw, beyond the rather grotesque behavior, as I see it here is that the "artist" plays extremely loose with the word "purpose." There is a distinction between "purpose" and "use." The biological purpose of sex organs is (shock!) to produce viable offspring. That those organs may be used in other ways is rather obvious, so really it sounds like the artist has done the amazing feat of discovering adjectives and adverbs.

    Also, bravo to #117.

  • Moonshine

    Bet she's a lot of fun at parties.

    Don't leave her alone with the kids though.

  • Dr. [name withheld]

    I hate to break the bad news to you, Miss Shvarts, but your donors' "submi[ssion] to periodic STD screenings" hardly guarantees that you are now STD free. Can a college student -- no, a Yale student -- really be that careless and stupid? I think not. So you must be dishonest.

  • blue

    God, and here are all of these other women (rich, poor, educated or not) just wasting their right to choose by not slapping it in a box and calling it art.

    Don't you just reinforce the "feminine" aspect of your bodily organs by creating this sham? No male art student could have done what you did.

    I always thought the ivy league was a pretentious soap box on top of an ivory tower. Your "art" and its bs explanation is a perfect example.

    Of course, what else can we expect from a University that graduated our current president? Your stunt is second class compared to all of his.

  • Amazed

    Well, if that wasn't the biggest, steamy chunk of pretentious hogswallop I ever read.

    Complete crap.

  • Another Prof

    Well, it looks like Yales art department will be hiring new faculty soon.

    Tenure? DENIED.

  • Amy Lahti

    A brilliantly facile explanation for a reprehensible and ultimately stupid act. I don't know why anyone is bothering to comment - including myself - because obviously Ms. Shvarts is living wholly in a world of her own invention and is probably impervious to other opinions at this point. I believe she is either mentally ill, or has been insulated in the world of academia so long that black has become white, right has become wrong and the heinous has become acceptable. I feel a great deal of pity for Ms. Shvarts, who is probably too young to realize that her little project is not art, and will not endure. It has caused a temporary flash of outrage, but that will be the end of its impact. I am sorry she doesn't seem to realize that her body is, in fact, a miraculous vessel and that whether or not she ever chooses to bear children, she should treat it with more respect. I also once did not want children; I changed my mind as I got older and matured. If Ms. Shvarts is ever fortunate enough to become a mother she will realize the desperate and senseless waste she perpetrated with this "art project" - if, that is, she hasn't permanently damaged herself enough to prevent her from bearing a child. Pregnancy and motherhood do seem weird and off-putting in the abstract but it is quite another thing when you reach a point in your life when you wish to experience parenthood (and your partner does, as well) and you find that you cannot without assistance. I would not wish infertility on anyone but what Ms. Shvarts has done here is a slap in the face to people who desperately desire children and cannot have them. No matter what fancy, highbrow academic language she wants to use to defend herself, I think it's obvious that she knows what she did is indefensible. And it's my belief that we all pay, sooner or later, for the indefensible acts we commit. Ms. Shvarts will be held karmically responsible for this, she just doesn't realize it yet. That anyone could undertake a project like this and think it acceptable is tremendously sad, but even sadder is that there are people out there trying to defend it. This is a sad, sad world we live in.
    P.S. I am pro-choice and a regular contributor to both Planned Parenthood and NARAL.

  • Yeah..

    "Just as it is a myth that women are “meant” to be feminine and men masculine, that penises and vaginas are “meant” for penetrative heterosexual sex (or that mouths, anuses, breasts, feet or leather, silicone, vinyl, rubber, or metal implements are not “meant” for sex at all), it is a myth that ovaries and a uterus are “meant” to birth a child."

    This is a slippery slope if there ever was one. While she's talking about the "natural" and "unnatural" labels we ascribe to things and intends to challenge us, how far is she really willing to go? Not only is her argument at odds with science and common sense, it also opens the doorway to other possibilities lying in the realm of perversion.

    The potential to ascribe pedophilia, rape, and other vile notions with Shvarts' concept of natural law is immense. The idea that "anything goes" becomes disgustingly pervasive as a result and is the inevitable conclusion of this logic.

  • Justin

    Does crap like that pay the bills?

  • nate

    whoop-de-freakin'-doo. Another shock artist trying to sound smart. She's a flash in the bucket folks. The more attention she gets, the more her "art" has succeeded.

  • R

    It's about the shock factor, not the art.

    There's nothing original in saying naming things has meaning. Except here, dichotomy she wishes to create doesn't exist because we don't know. And except for some religious loons, we don't even care.

    What we do know, is that she is a woman with issues with her period who wanted to play with her only blood while pretending it was for some higher purpose.

    It's ok Aliza. You can just say, "I like playing with my flow." You're at Yale, nobody there would even think that was weird.

  • Anonymous

    [1] The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem.
    [2] Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity.
    [3] What profit hath a man of all his labour which he taketh under the sun?
    [4] One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh: but the earth abideth for ever.
    [5] The sun also ariseth, and the sun goeth down, and hasteth to his place where he arose.
    [6] The wind goeth toward the south, and turneth about unto the north; it whirleth about continually, and the wind returneth again according to his circuits.
    [7] All the rivers run into the sea; yet the sea is not full; unto the place from whence the rivers come, thither they return again.
    [8] All things are full of labour; man cannot utter it: the eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing.
    [9] The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.
    [10] Is there any thing whereof it may be said, See, this is new? it hath been already of old time, which was before us.
    [11] There is no remembrance of former things; neither shall there be any remembrance of things that are to come with those that shall come after.
    [12] I the Preacher was king over Israel in Jerusalem.
    [13] And I gave my heart to seek and search out by wisdom concerning all things that are done under heaven: this sore travail hath God given to the sons of man to be exercised therewith.
    [14] I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and, behold, all is vanity and vexation of spirit.
    [15] That which is crooked cannot be made straight: and that which is wanting cannot be numbered.
    [16] I communed with mine own heart, saying, Lo, I am come to great estate, and have gotten more wisdom than all they that have been before me in Jerusalem: yea, my heart had great experience of wisdom and knowledge.
    [17] And I gave my heart to know wisdom, and to know madness and folly: I perceived that this also is vexation of spirit.
    [18] For in much wisdom is much grief: and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow.

    Ecclesiastes 1

    This is a work of vanity cleverly dressed up to manifest your own selfish desires. Eventually it will be forgotten. I will pray for you.

  • Zombie

    I'm just curious if anyone can explain a few things to me:

    1. Why hasn't she been expelled over this? Surely the student code of conduct has something in it that covers bringing a severely negative light to the institution or grossly ridiculous misconduct such as this.

    2. Why hasn't her advisor been let go or no longer allowed to advise students? Tenure wasn't meant to cover crap like this and even if the prof is allowed to continue researching that doesn't mean said prof is actually capable of providing reasonable guidance. In fact arguably, this is pretty strong evidence of the prof's inability to do so.

    3. Why haven't any mental health professionals tried to have Ms. Shvarts committed to an institution, such self-destructive activities surely fall under the purvue of a doctor rather than an art professor.

    Finally, if the author is so sure of her premise that it's good to explore other uses for her internal organs, I have no doubt she could find takers. Real performance art would have been trying to live on after donating vital organs to people who need them instead of making such a terrible mockery of life and death.

  • tad

    Let us not be so quick in condemning the clearly insane Ms. Shvarts, who has, if nothing else, at least alerted us to the existence of the Babelfish translator's new "English to Leftist Academic" feature.

  • Xanzyl

    Let me get this straight…You purposefully tried to get pregnant in order to abort the fetus? And you seem to think that a womb isn't for carrying a baby? Then what's it for? While I believe that women have a right to choose whether or not they want to keep a baby, doing this is just mind boggling. What exactly is it you are trying to prove here?
    You are a poor excuse for what the ivy league is supposed to have in people. This isn't art. This isn't an experiment. This is senseless destruction of not only the possible life that may have been inside of you, but the destruction of yourself. Do you have any idea what you could be doing to your body? People like you need taken out of the gene pool.

  • Peppy Hare

    Do a barrel roll!

  • Kashmir Kong

    This just goes to show that Conceptual Art is complete rubbish.

    Do something offensive, throw in a bunch of art-speak and there you go: you're a conceptual artist.

    To this student's credit, at least she didn't resort to using religious imagery
    to shock people, like most of these "artists" usually do.

  • B.A. in Pretentious

    …and after all that, you'll still end up working at Starbucks

  • R.C.

    Everyone, calm down.

    While it's true that this young lady's art project is anti-intellectual, contemptible in its methods, and contributes a net negative to society as a whole; …and,

    While it's true that disgust and outrage are not misplaced reactions to such tripe; …still,

    The plain fact is: She can't know any better. She's got a head full of mush but no real breadth of knowledge, nothing of merit.

    These days, you have to work hard to extract real education from most colleges, Yale included. And this little girl, poor lamb, hasn't the faintest notion how to do that.

    So she remains trapped in the parochial confines of her own skull. Wisdom and reason are walled out by her own reflexive penchant for shocking her betters with bullshit, and pretending it's a virtue.

    Now, her only hope at maturity is to experience life outside the ivory tower, and well-outside the echo chamber of other equally parochial "arty" persons.

    For this "art" is nothing more than the child of intellectual inbreeding.

    And the child who made it lacks a type of maturity and wisdom which no Yale classroom will provide.

    Two years' work on an oil rig, or as a ranch hand, or as a church secretary, or serving in a hospice, or a stint in the Army, would teach far better.

    She probably won't be smart enough to pursue any of the above…but we can always hope.

  • Annie

    WTF??? How can purposely getting yourself possibly pregnant just to possibly abort a baby seem like art?? And I have to say that a 'self-induced' miscarriage is just a nice way of saying abortion!!! That's basically what your crazy ass did!

  • sparticle

    Some people will do anything for attention. Apparently, you are one of them. Get help.

  • Einsteinaroma

    We never cease to stand like curious children before the great Mystery into which we were born. Or in your case, not born.

    Your art is a brilliant piece of crap.

  • VercengetorixII

    Wittgenstein made similar arguments to this, and while I think he's correct, he didn't feel the need to draw national attention to himself by artificially inducing what may or may not have been miscarriages, or by writing a press release, or putting up an art exhibit. Your message is fine in many respects - norms are socially or linguistically established and may not necessarily have any "higher" purpose or connection, and recognizing this fact encourages their critical evaluation and potential evolution - but the shock value of your "piece" doesn't help your message. It just confuses the hell out of things. Taking a "Well you just don't get it!" attitude afterward doesn't help matters.

    Also, simply because norms are socially constructed doesn't mean that they (a) don't exist, and (b) can't be overcome. Norms are not, by definition, limiting in and of themselves. You seem to be asserting that the lack of an absolute denies the possibility of a norm, and that's simply inaccurate.

  • Howie Feltersnatch

    That's a hell of an act you got there. What do you call it?

  • You're sick

    you are a disgusting, sad, confused person

  • Brian

    Wow, how original. And such big words, you must be sooooo sophisticated! Sounds like you cut and pasted a few paragraphs from each of your textbooks. Do you have any other marketable skills after 4 years of study and tens of thousands of dollars of tuition money?

  • Gerald

    One of the best things about art is that it raises questions. This piece raises many of them.

    Let's just look at a few:

    If you are pro-choice, where do you draw the line between a "legitimate" abortion and an "illegitimate" abortion? If it is the woman's right to choose - it is her body - then wouldn't ANY abortion be permissible on the condition that the woman willed it?

    I also like how it toys with the supreme American value of toleration. Should this be tolerated? Should this experiment be respected?

    Another question that is raised for those of you who find this piece offensive is, quite simply: Why are you offended?

    Is she violating your rights? Is she doing anything illegal? No.

    What is it about her project that you find objectionable? What standard do you have to appeal to?

    To say she's "sick" is a value-judgment and we've made it clear in this country that value-judgments are personal and opinion-based, not universal and necessary.

    Are you prepared to deal with these consequences?

  • the_informer

    Humor me here. You said that the purpose of the ovaries/womb is not limited to childbirth. Would you please name an alternate use? Not everyone paints. Forcing an abortion yourself is evidence that you've stoped heeding the most basic human drives(survival and reproduction). What does drive you, Aliza? Do you even know, or care?

  • Levi

    I'd like to ditto everything that Jax mentions above and add:

    I believe you have failed in your mission to subvert the normative by forcing your "organs" to behave in supposed unconventional manners. Your art installation (pun intended) misses the mark due to an apparent lack of understanding of your "organs" very functions.

    Though you have chosen to artificially inseminate yourself, your body doesn't know the difference and is proceeding in its genetically prescribed course. Your ovaries release an egg, it meets a sperm, it attaches itself to the uterine wall. Sadly, even your induced miscarriage is not outside the realm of female bodily functions if the fertilized egg is inviable or the body is unable to sustain it due to malnutrition or the introduction of some poison like an "abortifacient."

    I appreciate the existential question. I believe others have said enough about the issue and it doesn't bear repeating.

  • thomble

    This column reads much like Alan Sokal's "Social Text" hoax. Though, it's a little less audacious, since there are actual (trivial) arguments buried in Aliza's po-mo buzzwords. Sokal's hoax, and his subsequent criticism, were probably beneficial to the duped academics and their field. I don't know if Aliza's work is a hoax, or if she will reveal a final punchline, but I have a strong feeling that there will be no benefit to anything, either way.

  • newyorkmentfan

    Aliza you go Girl (^_^)

  • Mike Olson

    Get over yourself. I agree with the poster who used the cat/dog and Coke/Pepsi comparisons. This is the worst example of "art" I've ever had the privilege to laugh at. You're entirely too consumed with being different for its own sake, and the experiment smacks of pretentiousness and snobbery.

  • Becky

    Aliza, The next time you try to write something using multi-syllable words describing concepts that you truly do not understand, you really ought to first consult at least a dictionary.

  • D'port Alum

    I submitted a comment yesterday which hasn't appeared here. That indicates that the Yale Daily News has standards. Why doesn't the Art Department?

  • childless

    Why not next time carry one for someone who is childless people like you have no idea the pain felt when you cannot have a child.

  • Markie

    --Convincing a couple of your friends to masturbate into a cup: free
    --Needle-less syringe: $25.00
    --Dropping acid instead of working on your art project: $100
    --The best college education that money can buy: $250,000.00
    --Making a fool out of yourself, your family, your friends, and your college: Priceless

  • A student of language

    I haven't seen the point explicitly stated yet, so I'll do it- your grasp of language is tenuous, and this essay febrile. Possibly, English is not your first language, in which case the mistakes are understandable, but not forgivable - have a native speaker proof your work.

    Your language is tenuous because (among others) you repeatedly use the word 'mythology' so far outside its accepted meaning that you are actually using it in place of another word which would better suit your presumed meaning- the word you should be using is 'idea', or 'conception'.

    This mistake is shown in high relief by your initial, correct use of the word 'ontology', although the gist of your essay suggests you have an incomplete understanding of that discipline.

    Your essay's febrility is characterized by your procession of incomplete and unanswered arguments and repeated misuse of "high-sounding" words; you seem to be attempting some sort of ipse dixit built around terms of art, about art, to the exclusion of reasonable discourse.

    The strong impression is left in the mind of the reader that you are parroting words and concepts you do not fully understand, in order to justify an act you have performed, which, in the context of ontological discourse, is hilarious.

    Your poor use of language casts grave doubts on your ability to conceptualize and explain the meaning of your project. If this is the best you can do for others, how jumbled and confused was your inner dialogue when imagining this project? If that dialogue was in your native tongue, by all means publish your essay in that tongue and perhaps clarity will emerge.

    Art is meant to be understood by others; in order for that to be true, the artist must be the first one to understand it, or it must stand on its own merits and the artist shall be mute.

    Of course, this could all be some soi-disant high concept hoax, in which case, you have trolled IRL most successfully! Did u hear we liek mudkips?

  • ray

    Social constructions change with time and vary from place to place. I think your art relies far too much on context. Imagine explaining this ten years from now, twenty years from now. Instead of creating a critique of autonomy over society's sexual norms, why not explore your own tension between the uses and functions of sexual organs. There are real universal issues here but you took the easy way out by not only looking outward instead of inward but also by relying on shock value to put your art out there. I bet a Ziggy comic strip will be more relevant and will say more about the human condition in 50 or 100 years than what you made, and I mean that in all seriousness.

  • A Dad…

    To answer Gerald (#204): I'm offended because I have a serious art student attending Yale, and now the entire world thinks this is what my son is being taught at Yale.
    I'm offended because they (the outside world) are apparently right.
    I'm offended because this crazy woman will undoubtedly graduate, if not with honors.
    I'm offended because the art faculty tolerating this crap will no doubt be promoted.
    I'm offended because noone in a position of authority at Yale is calling this crap what it is: a king with no clothes. She obviously is trying to create a point after-the-fact, but lacks the creative ability to do so, and given the ridiculous nature of her "art" project, she didn't have much to work with. The truth to me appears that she was not smart enough to cut it in any other college at Yale, that she can't write or think coherently, and evidently, she also lacks even the slightest bit of artistic ability.
    And, I STRONGLY believe (based upon several of the things she has said/written that don't add up) that she's fundamentally dishonest.
    So, yes I'm offended. And I hope the consequence will be that Yale will do something reasonable, and fast, to prevent damage to the reputation of Yale's art program.

  • Melissa

    My concern would be more medical. Because of this "piece of art" (and I use the term loosely), this young woman may have opened herself to a future of sterility, anemia, fibroid tumors or ovarian cysts due to the multiple pregnancies and abortions (if there were such things). The human body was not meant to go through all that.

  • Sugabelly

    Since Ms. Shvarts thinks that it is a myth that the uterus was made for reproduction, and that human organs can be used for purposes outside that which they were designed for in nature, then I IMPLORE HER to employ her ovaries in the first display of human flight.

    Now THAT would be something.

  • Fellow Artist

    Seems to me that it is a shame to throw your ability to get pregnant in womens faces who are trying to get pregnant, woman who cant keep a baby. These women have unwanted miscarriages and this destroys them and there mental health. You do not deserve to be able to conceive.

  • not a Yale student

    If you poison your neighbor and then set fire to her house, they'll never be able to say with certainty what killed her. Does that make it art, or just a crime?

    If you throw a starving kitten down a well, and three days later they find it dead, yes, there'll be uncertainty as to the cause of death, but is that art, or just cruel behavior?

    If you throw feces and then urine on a stranger and the person reacts with disgust, no one will know which of the two cause the disgust. Is that art, or just antisocial, aberrant behavior?

    The notion that uncertainty or unprovability (pregnant vs not pregnant) is an artistic statement is intellectually vacuous and stupid.

    That, however, is a side issue. Creating disgust and outrage through disgusting and outrageous acts is not innovative, not clever, and certainly not artistic. If the entire thing is a hoax, which it probably is, it is even less "art"; generating outrage through faked immoral and vile acts, and then pointing to the outrage as an art project, is juvenile at best.

    Children will be children, but where are the adults at Yale? Is there no one working in the art department, or the administration, who can sit down with a misguided student and explain the difference between artisanry and grossing people out with revoling acts and/or hoaxes? That kid is just a misguided child who's been using words like "heteronormative" so long she can no longer think clearly; it's the people in charge at Yale who really have something to answer for here.

  • SheBear

    I think she should not be allowed to graduate. I think she should be expelled.

    Yale at first publicly DENIED she conceived and aborted, saying it was "art" and "creative fiction"--

    --and had she really been pregnant and aborted herself repeatedly, Yale themselves said Moral and ethical boundaries would have been crossed.

    Well, Shvarts has refuted Yale and clarified what she has done.

    WILL YALE STAND BY THEIR ORIGINAL WORD?--WILL YALE ACT ON THEIR WORD? --

    Act on their belief that she crossed moral and ethical boundaries? Will they expel her? Will they halt the exhibit? WIll they recommend her for serious mental counselling?

    I hope so.

  • GG-AZ

    Ms. Shvarts, there is no ambiguity in your actions, only ignorance. Assuming that your story is not pure fabrication, you either successfully impregnated yourself on one or more occasions, or you did not. If you did so, then you brought one or more children into this world, for the express purpose of killing them almost immediately.

    You are simply ignorant of whether or not you have killed one or more of your children.

    Likewise, we will never know how many Jews and others were murdered at Auschwitz. The Nazis incinerated their victims. This isn't ambiguity. It's destroying the evidence of abomination.

  • GG-AZ

    Where are the adults at Yale? This repulsive story likely provides insight into what the Yale faculty is actually teaching.

    Yale was 49th out of 50 schools evaluated in the fall 2006 American Civic Literacy Exam (ACLE), in terms of how well it taught America’s history, political thought, market economy and international relations to its students.

    After 4 years and $250,000 (per a post above), the average Yale student's score on the ACLE declines -- yes, declines -- by 3.09 points, from 68.94% for freshmen to 65.85% for seniors.

  • Bob McGovern

    The author of this piece has done nothing more than create self-serving public scrutiny - and it appears she did so in the name of art.

    The fallacy of self-moderated destruction in the name of creativity lives on.

    Perhaps this was her way of chastising the idea of symbolism as it pertains to sexism. What she accomplished was a long-winded, multisyllabic editorial that doesn't even pass for uneducated hyperbole.

    It's too bad legitimacy is sometimes quantified by page views and public opinion. Someone might actually believe this. Then again, is this just a shotgun approach to creative nonfiction?

    I guess I'm a hypocrite though, since I'm adding to the discourse.

    At least I understand what hypocrite stands for as a symbol within our society. I won't test it by lying to myself in hopes of proving a point that was never there.

  • Anonymous

    So you are protesting the use of your mentioned bodily organs for reproduction, by using them for reproduction…genius.

  • alex

    i agree with melissa (#217) that this series of self-induced miscarriages may have cause harm that is not currently seen but will manifest a few years down the road, including uterine damage etc.

    expressing yourself is well and good, trying to do something different and shocking is down to your decision, but to neglect health consequences, that's irresponsible.

  • Christian

    I support this.

  • Siobhan

    Feminism? this is a slap in the face to all women, aliza, and you owe an apology to every woman who has ever tried, successfully or not, to conceive a child. you owe an apology to every woman who has ever miscarried and you owe an apology to every woman who has ever aborted her child, because by turning your abortion into "art" you are trivializing this decision. As a 28 year old married woman who has had three NATURAL miscarriages, your "artwork" brings me to tears. I wish you knew how much i would give to be able to concieve a childl; would you consider the blood i discharged during by miscarriages art as well? does that make me an artist? I'm sorry that i didnt save it and hang it on my wall.
    aliza you also owe an apology to your mother who conceived you and carried you in her womb for nine months. Or perhaps, as hinted to several times before, you did this to spite her?

  • anon

    Murder is murder, no matter what kind of title you try to slap on it.

  • Angry

    Siobhan…I agree with you 100%. This girl has no idea the insult she has dealt to women all over the world. Her actions are beyond words. I can only hope that we stop hiding behind Freedom of Speech rights…our rights are not an excuse to do whatever we please.

  • wmc

    More deconstructionist drivel. Hopefully no tax dollar were sacrificed for this meaningless education.

  • L

    I'm a feminist, an artist, and pro-choice.
    However, this was probably one of the worst ideas that I've ever heard of in my life.

    The uterus was not meant to birth a child? Really? I must have forgotten that the uterus really was, in fact, meant to be impregnated and aborted several times in a row.

    I'm also confused how this 'art project' helps break stereotypes. I personally feel as if you're adding to the stereotype that all feminists are completely nuts!

  • Chaya E.

    There is, obviously, something troubling this young woman and she is repressing it by expressing it through what she refers to as 'art.' When she is much older I am afraid she will have an emotional breakdown when she thinks about what she had done.

  • Charles Hepner

    I admit it, I was completely taken in. Only on rereading her op-ed piece, written in a style that is a brilliant parody of inane academic gobbledygook, did I realize that the whole project is a hoax. My only comfort is that the Yale administration was taken in, too. That was probably a principal object of the hoax.

    Unfortunately, it is a joke that may have serious, even dangerous, consequences for Aliza. I hope that some day she will realize that freedom is only one side of the coin; the other side is responsibility.

  • One more entry

    You may find this entry interesting, if you're not part of the "she's Hitler" crew.

    To me, the greatest failing of the work is precisely this artist's statement: no matter how articulately and coherently (or not) she argues her case, by writing a statement she fixes the work's meaning and reduces it to a provocation (though a rather weak form of one, as she sheepishly leaves open the possibility of it all not having happened). Her work seems to be a typical example not of conceptual art, as she would like her professors and potential future collectors to believe, but of cheap rhetoric.

    True, statements and documentation are now an integral part of performance art, and it is almost unheard of for an y self-respecting artist not to document their performance. However, this piece of writing is confused in its purpose, as it makes no distinction between the artist's telling of the performance and the telling of the telling (if you follow my line of thought).

    Having a dealer or a critic to write the "explanation" for her would be an easy way out of this ill-thought out idea.

  • Timothy S

    Personally, I would've found this exercise far more entertaining had she proclaimed that her arm was in fact an excellent bat, then proceeded to have it surgically removed and embalmed, wrapped in a brown paper bag, and used to flog people as she ran one-armed through a public place. It wouldn't have provoked the reaction she was going for (if it can be taken at face value), but it certainly would be the reaction this deserves.

  • anne

    This kind of stuff makes it hard for artists with actual TALENT to remain credible. If I would have known that I could get away with stuff like this for my thesis, then I wouldn't have spent so many years developing actual skill. Nor would I have to work so hard to get the PR. What was I thinking.

  • Oh boy

    Well, at this moment it does not matter if "she really did it" or not. Its offensive, yes, and idiotic. But, I find her "explanation" almost comical.

    Back when I was in high school, I used to sit with a thesaurus sticking all the "big words" I possibly could into my papers. I figured it would make me sound "smarter".

    So, her little thesis is the product of four years of a Yale education? I could have produced such dreck easily when I was 15.

    The point I take away from all this is that you can get four years of a Yale education and learn absolutely nothing.

    And, the people who posted alternative art projects had me laughing until I cried. I like the "bat" idea.

    No Yale for my children unless I want them to learn how to spout errant nonsense, and use a thesaurus really really well.

  • Alexandra

    Art? Who in this wide world would call abortion and the precious baby's remians on display art? As one said:

    "This woman is a disgrace to her family and to the University.

    She is evil. There is no other word to describe her complete lack of respect for the life of her own children.

    She claims that she is proudly displaying the blood of her own progeny for the sake of art. This is no less evil than displaying the tattooed skin of concentration camp victims for the sake of art.

    Utterly disgusting. If her intention was to shock, it succeeded. I hope her parents are proud when they visit the bloody remains of their grandchildren which their daughter will have on display at this once fine University.

    Art? Hitler was an artist too."

    How could someone do this? What int he minds of the intellectual would do such a hideous thing? I will write more later, for I am not done saying what I want to on this disturbing and shocking subject.

  • Bill

    Aliza: Have fun in your future career flipping burgers, because not only do you lack any ability as an artist, you also lack the ability to write. The poster above got it right: $250,000 down the toilet.

  • Huh?

    I realize there's a lot of divide here between people that think this is great and people who think you're an evil murderer.

    The problem here is the total lack of respect that was given to any of this. You obviously haven't experience a true miscarriage before or you'd be able to see that the emotional pain and suffering it produces is more than a matter of the way we label things. Conception does not begin when we begin naming things, it is a natural process by which female animals in a species get pregnant after intercourse. Tons of species of animals do it, and we're animals too, so to suggest that any of this is a matter of the way we assign names is ridiculous.

    Secondly, the whole thing might not seem like a waste if you weren't so damn pretentious in every way you handle this. You assume that because it's art, you can handle it this way. The problem with your art is that it specifically targets and terrorizes a group of people (specifically women who have suffered through this) and makes them relive that pain in the most uncomfortable, irreverent way.

    Also, I think people who are posting in defense of free speech and saying that the government is trying to limit us are really missing the point. There is a major moral dilemma here that completely dehumanizes these fetuses that you are using for your little experiment.

    Ask yourself if the results of this project would've been the same or better if you would've found people who actually miscarriaged and tried to get to the bottom of their pain and suffering. That's art for social good rather than art for social destruction.

    But hey, you still have one more year left to learn that I guess.

  • Cecilia

    Estás LOCA!

  • CC20

    Before anyone posts another comment, please go back and read #127. He is the only one here who Gets It.

  • Dr. Westenburg

    This 'study' resembles the experiments of Dr. Mengele during Nazi times. With a name like the author's, I bet her ancestors are turning in the grave out of shame that the only thing their genes reproduced is a sad and demonically destructive child.

    The 'study' is ambiguous at best. I have read thousands of artistic and scientific writings, and this one is juvenile and poorly defined.

    Besides the fact that this person is not sufficiently educated to communicate her objectives, there is a dark void in this person's ethical fabric that is very worrysome and possibly leading to further damage to our already terrorized community.

    As the Dean of this illustrious institution, I would not allow this person to attain any credentials that might give this person the authority (read: 'weapon') to perform any further 'studies' on future vulnerable human beings.

  • Alexandra

    What do you think of realizing what you have done to these children? As one said, "When she holds her first child, all of it will come flooding back to her." Surely…it…will. Hmm!

  • Shelby

    I am so sick of this 'MURDER!!', 'AGAINST GOD!!' 'YOU'RE INSANE!!' crap.

    If this was a real work of art, I would have viewed it from the angle that I believe that Aliza saw it from; a form of discovery of what the human body is capable of, a mix on the feminist views and a whole crapload of controversy.
    Everybody is entitled to their opinions, no doubt, but it shouldn't be a group to control the masses.

  • Amram

    Tagidi, at mefageret?

  • 613

    What a stupid idea. Doesn't sound very healthy.

  • Liliana

    I think that is a stupid idea because you are hurting a baby its a real person too. I think you should be sent to jailblankets

  • confused az

    those who say you are entitled to your "artistic creativity"…HA! I say any one of those potential children who you "miscarried" is entitled to a heartbeat and a life. So what did you prove? What else is the uterus "meant" for?? art??? isn't having a baby art in itself?? maybe you do not understand how beautiful it is to be pregnant and give birth. how miracuous it is to see this child who is of your own flesh come alive. i can understand that and i have never been pregnant! this a disgusting display of self mutilation and you lack any empathy for women who have experienced true miscarriages. it is extremely painful physically and emotionally. as a woman reading this i am utterly shocked and disgusted. i would love to be able to attend such a prestegious college as Yale, however instead of wasting everyone's time by doing an "art" project which has absolutely no value, i would use the knowlege i gained to find a cure for cancer, or feed starving children in africa, or bosnia or anywhere else in the world or try to bring an end to VIOLENCE!! what a waste of an education you are. out of all the wonderful things you could have done for an "art" project, you chose the ugliest.

  • chynadoll

    one can only hope this monster will soon die or complications due to her idiocy.

    This is no real women…maybe for her next "art" project she should demonstrate how wonderful it is to take her own life.

  • danielle

    i think u should really take a look at what u have done to baby. you have murder another humam. they should put sick people like you in prison…

    hope you burn in the deep dark hole of hell….. jesus help her….

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