On Midwifing - the metaphor strikes back

Cordula Daus
40 min Presentation + 40 min Discussion
Anna Ulrrike Andersen
Olavshallen: Cinemateket
A woman speaks with a midwife to inquire about pregnancy and birth. The fact that “all people come out of vaginas” seems utterly absurd to her. She asks the midwife to meticulously describe her practice, as if to render an ancient ritual more believable. How does she prepare a pregnant woman for something that seems impossible? How does she hold, trust, and wait for the right moment to come? How do pain and knowing relate to each other? In Plato’s Theaitetos the literary figure Socrates enters into a dialogue with two male mathematicians to inquire about the essence of knowledge. He compares his technique of eliciting ideas through questioning with the work of a midwife: “I suspect that you are in labour. Come then to me, who I am a midwife, and the son of a midwife, and I will deliver you.” For this SAR conference, Cordula Daus expands on the podcast episode On Midwifing - the metaphor strikes back developed in collaboration with Charlotta Ruth: Two female artists grab hold of Socrates’ metaphor to ask a midwife what she really does when she assists another woman. Together they enter into a dialogue speaking from two parallel creation realms at the same time. On Midwifing - the metaphor strikes back looks at the entanglements between bodies and language, gestational and creative processes, and how we can possibly fictify and compose other temporalities in language-based art. This contribution focuses on playful questioning, listening, and confabulation, combining field research, artistic research, and performance.

Cordula Daus

Cordula Daus is a writer and artist working across theory, fiction and performance. In her postdoc research Outer Woman (Austrian Science Fund/FWF: V 797) she explores pregnancy and alternative reproductive imaginaries from a queer feminist perspective. The research is being disseminated in an upcoming podcast series. The episode On Midwifing - the metaphor strikes back is the fruit of a long-term collaboration between Daus and Charlotta Ruth, an artist researcher working in the field of expanded choreography and ludic structures. Together they create situations where language and ideas become material to be touched and processed between people. The first iteration of their ongoing art project Questionology was presented at the research Pavilion #3 in Venice 2019 and has ever since been presented in the form of performances, live installations, workshops and questionnaires in Austria and beyond.