Lullaby in Yoni is a lullaby created for adults. It tells the feminine story of a kind of desire that refuses to chose between the tropes of the tender maternal or the sensual seductress.

ARTIST STATEMENT

Innocent or seductive, madonna or whore, platonic or sexual? Lullaby in Yoni sonically, visually and experientially refuses to pick either of these categories, trying to subvert these ancient old hegemonic binaries from within. Lullaby grew out of Stephanie’s doctoral research on tenderness –  a forgotten Freudian concept referring to the tender erotics between mother and infant. While encouraged as maternal, feminine and infantile, Freud pathologizes such tender erotics between adults as hysteric, masochist or uncivilized.[1] And he does not even mention it as a possible masculine attribute. What fear lays at the root of Freud’s phallic taboo on adult erotic tenderness? Might Freud’s taboo represent a general western fear of a tender sensuality among adults? What collateral damage does the taboo havoc? And might dwelling in rare moments of yonic adult erotic tenderness, offer us critical potential to undo these damaging binaries and stereotypes? These questions and convictions were the catalyst behind Lullaby in Yoni.

Sonically, Lullaby was created in collaboration with sound engineer and producer Jordan Rocha. He used Stephanie’s improvisational humming, micro-beats made of trickling water and intimate home sounds, to create both a seductive AND soothing lullaby. Visually, Stephanie collaborated with visual and performance artist Bjørn Venø. They envisioned a visual experience that feels intimate in both its innocent AND provocative sense. Experientially, Stephanie relies on the curative vision of Birney Roberts who facilitated a crepuscular setting in which both a public AND private horizontal space becomes created for the participants to experience a tender moment.

It is in the crepuscular, the in-between space, between night and day, between you and me, between Madonna and whore, between innocence and seduction, between child and adult … that we are allowed to become-tender. Tender, in its original Indo-European sense of the word: to stretch and become stretched. It is here that we stretch towards each other, and we become stretched by one another. Here in this carefully carved out space, fixed identities and categories are insufficiently equipped to contain what’s about to happen. So where do we turn to when all existing categories and language fails? Maybe here  “the best plan is to abstain from all discourse, to keep quiet, or else utter only a sound so inarticulate that it barely forms a song. While keeping an attentive ear open for any hint or tremor coming back.[2] What if in this crepuscular, horizontal space, we become-music.[3] A lullaby luring us to become nothing more or less than trembling, attuning affect and vibrations.[4]


[1] Freud (1989) Studies on Hysteria; (1905) Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality; (1912) On the Universal Debasement in the Sphere of Love; (1914) A Child is Being Beaten.

[2] Irigaray (1974) Speculum of the Other Woman.

[3] Deleuze and Guattari (1987) A Thousand Plateaus.

[4]Malloch and Trevarthen (2008) Communicative Musicality; Stern (1985). The Interpersonal World of the Infant.

The installation premiered Sunday May 19th at sensory landscape, an outdoor exhibit in Ansley Park Atlanta. Curated by Birney Robert.