I met Sadie Lune 22 months ago in Tucson, AZ at a La Pocha Nostra performance art workshop. It was there that she conceived of the idea to get pregnant via performance art via public insemination. We were standing in Surgeon Scofflaw’s kitchen in the first hours of the dark day, and I encouraged her to do it, unaware at the time how involved I would become. I immediately could see that Sadie sincerely wanted a child, that she is a loving human being and an artist with conviction. To make the conception a performance struck me as edgy, vulnerable and life altering for everyone present: an ideal performance piece.
Since then, Sadie and I have become committed collaborators, art-wives if you will, working publicly and privately on performances around intimacy, authenticity, body as a site for public engagement/reflection, friendship and communication. I have learned more about her vision for public insemination or “Biological Clock”. She has described “hand made-ins” who are close friends that bring the sperm quickly into her vagina with gloved hands. She has also imagined several different “sperm donors” providing cum on the night of the performance. These sperm donors are ideally healthy men 40 years old and under who empathize with Sadie and the performance. It will all happen in a gallery or some other open theatrical space. There will be a platform in the middle of the space and the audience will sit all around it.
Sadie left last spring to Berlin for six months with the intention of bringing Biological Clock into fruition. I told her before she left that I would come to Berlin and collaborate with her on the project.
As time went on I began to question my involvement. For one, I went to see my parents in Georgia and talked to them about the project. They grilled me in all the way parents do. How is Sadie going to support this child? Why doesn’t Sadie just get a boyfriend? Who is going to help raise the kid? Where will she have it? Are you going to be the father? Some of their questions were ridiculous and some made me worry and question my involvement. The other issue was just that it was so damn expensive to get to Berlin.
And then Sadie’s other platonic wife, Irene, came to visit me in Colorado. She truly put a fire in my ass to go. Irene had her tickets booked and was anxious to be an auntie. She reminded me that my presence was required and we began plotting how I would get there. Once that lady puts her mind on something, she is a force to be reckoned with. Before long, she had a little website with a link to a paypal account where people could donate money toward my airfare. She sent an email out to some of her friends and the next thing I knew, I had $20 in my account. If Irene sent an email out to her friends asking for money to send me to Berlin, it was only appropriate for me to send an email out to my friends. I asked my sister what kind of email I needed to write that she would forward on to her email list. She told me I had to get visual and make a funny video. Hence, my “Shameless Plea for Money” youtube video was made, which can be seen at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DfSh_zAgK68. My friends graciously gave me money, anywhere between $5-$100, and I bought my ticket. The process was humbling and helped me face some of my own issues around money.
Irene and I planned to be there for Sadie’s ovulation to get the job done. Unfortunately, Sadie had not enlisted any sperm donors by the time we arrived. We decided to get the ball rolling and make a collaborative, preliminary performance to Biological Clock.
With only one week to prepare, we had to act fast and put our cards on the table. To truly engage in this project, I had to articulate my fears and hesitations. The idea of Sadie bringing a baby into this world as a single parent made me uneasy. She would like to raise a child with co parents invested in the process, but no one has stepped up to commit to that yet. When I brought this up over Club Mate at the Silver Future trans/queer bar in Berlin, Sadie said she couldn’t imagine waiting to have all the pieces fall into place before she has the baby. I wanted to talk more about a foundation for the baby. I said to Sadie, “Sperm is easy. Sperm is simple. But what happens when you actually have the baby? You’ll need a place to nest. Where will that be? Who will be your caretakers?” I was sounding like my parents.
We decided to move forward and create an interactive ritual that would address these issues. We decided to focus on creating a strongly magnetic vortex. We would speak iin symbols and visualize a loving space for the babe to land. It would be called “Come to Mama” addressing the cosmic sperm we attracting into Sadie’s womb.
“The show”, and I use quotes because it’s just a funny way to describe this really intimate ritual, was to be held at Cindy Wonderful’s space the Fab Lab. It’s a small gallery in Kreuzberg, Berlin, where the streets are cobblestone and the sidewalks are made up of these tiny, little bricks. Cindy was a huge support from the beginning. She offered her space to us without asking many questions. We brainstormed at Silver Future, but the bulk of the performance was to be determined in the space, because that’s the kind of site specific artists we are.
We knew we wanted the piece to include: deviled eggs, maps to show the baby possible places to land, a womb walkie talkie and a magnetic vortex design on the floor. The design turned out to be a spiral made out of orange, red and really awesome silver foil tape. It started out on the street and coiled into the main gallery room. In the beginning, Sadie lied inside a huge pillow case type contraption on top of the spiral. With her arms and legs stretched out, she filled the giant pillow case and the center was a diamond cut out that revealed Sadie’s bare torso. A red light shined down on her. Irene greeted the guests by anointing their foreheads with a glittery-sploogey concoction. Someone asked if there was actual sperm in the concoction. Of course not. If there was it would be in Sadie’s vagina right now and not on your face. Duh. I greeted guests by offering them a delicious deviled egg. I wore an off white sequins gown from the 60’s. It had capped sleeves and an open back. I felt fancy. Irene wore a white halter dress with black flowers. She wore a black, lacy negligee cover up on top. When Sadie emerged from her white fabric-pillow case-installation, she wore knee high gym socks, a white tank top, a men’s button up shirt in the shade of pale purple and a white skirt.
When it was time to begin and gather the audience together, we whispered in people’ ears “baby” and led them outside. The sun was setting on the cobblestone streets of Berlin. Our whispered babies grew louder and louder, until we were yelling Baby, Baby, BABY!!! Folks across the street turned and shouted back to us. We moved inside to an intermediary room that was small. Sadie made silver stars out of that incredible foil tape on the walls with pale purple ribbons attached to them. There was a star for SF, Berlin, Tucson, and Baltimore, four of Sadie’s homes where the child might like to be born. Irene and I lit candles and burned sweet grass while Sadie tied the ribbon from each star together in the center of the little room. The lilac ribbon bow she made and the altar with our sage, sweet grass and candles lit gave the room a witchy-baby shower feel.
We moved into the main gallery space with the spiral taped on the floor. People sat in a circle. Irene, Sadie and I lied down in the center of the spiral with our heads touching and holding hands. Sadie coined this action as the Kundalini Cum Shot. Our pelvises rocked back and forth, sometimes making our heads clang together. Sadie led us through a visualization where we drew the energy up each chakra with our breath, starting at the root chakra. The rocking motion we did with our pelvises helped draw the energy up into each chakra. We breathed and moaned, sometimes a back would spontaneously arch or faces would spasm uncontrollably. And then Sadie guided us to let all that energy shoot out the top of our heads in white light, hence the name Kundalini Cum Shot. We imagined all of that energy raining down back into our bodies and the earth. I initially did not want to do this exercise as a part of the piece. A) Because I didn’t want the audience to just sit there and not know what do or how to engage. B) Because the exercise is powerful and I felt vulnerable before, during and after. My face would start to twitch and I felt ethereal. I explained this to Irene and Sadie, they heard me out and despite both of their strong desires to do the Kundalini Cum Shot, they agreed that if we all didn’t want to do it, none of us should do it. That was all I needed to hear to change my mind. I thought, “What the fuck? How else are we going to raise the roof on this performance and create the kind of supernova strong enough to manifest a baby?” And so it became the main action of the piece.
The next action was to go back into the small room w/ the ribbons tied together over head. Sadie got onto the table and I anointed her body with honey and glitter, two ingredients we considered to be baby magnets. I passed off the honey and glitter to the audience and encouraged them to drizzle and dazzle Sadie’s body with as much of the two baby magnets as they wanted. Soon enough, Sadie was covered in honey and gold and laughing. I handed her the Hitachi. An orgasm draws sperm (cosmic or otherwise) up into the uterus. Sadie came as the audience and I made arm movements that implied the successful insemination of a cosmic babe. Irene’s hands emerged from underneath the table and gestured seductively for the cosmic sperm to come on down/into Sadie’s womb. Sadie let out one of her famous orgasmic cries and we were ready for the womb walkie talkies to come out.
Irene came up with the womb walkie talkie idea. One end of which was an egg that she inserted into Sadie’s vagina. The egg was tied to a piece of glass, that was reminiscent of a conch shell, with red string. It was kind of like the telephones kids used to make out of two cans and a piece of string. People came up one at a time to hold this beautiful piece of glass up to their faces and speak their messages to the future baby. I was surprisingly moved. Some people jumped at the opportunity to speak softly into the womb walkie talkie. Others hesitated at first, but eventually gave in to curiosity or who knows what. This is the only part of the piece where some people walked out. It wasn’t the masturbation or even the Kundalini Cum Shot. I think the intimacy of connecting with Sadie’s unborn babe in that way blew people out. Not just because folks were talking to a string that emerged from Sadie’s pussy, but because it gave you a feeling of connection to the baby, maybe even a sense of responsibility. I looked around the room and saw all these beautiful, colorful, loving creatures and I whispered into the womb walkie talkie, “We’re ready for you, baby. We love you already.” After everyone who wanted to speak said their piece, Sadie pushed the egg out and I caught it with the glass conch.
We led the audience back outside onto the sidewalk. The audience, by the way, was made up almost entirely of female bodied and identified folks, one woman brought her new baby with her that cried at the most appropriate parts, there was one trans guy (our beloved, Kay) and one sperm carrying bio-male. We dispersed the energy at the end of the performance-ritual by scattering the egg shells from the deviled eggs and crushing birth control pills into the little bricks in the sidewalk. Sadie asked people to pass on the sperm donor invitations to anyone they thought would by interested. Then, pretty much everyone’s eyes moved onto the lone male. He blushed and we all erupted into a semi-nervous giggle.
I thought it was an overall beautiful experience. Sadie, Irene and I really focused our intentions to make magic. I heard someone describe the Kundalini Cum Shot as trance inducing. Someone else said they were moved by the womb walkie talkie. But you never know how something like that will reverberate in the world. And then, smilingly, I mopped the honey off the Fab Lab floor.
When I came home from my Berlin Performance Art adventure, I made this video as a follow up: “Thanks for Sending my Ass to Berlin”, which can be seen here: