Patty Chang has opened back up her fears list for us all to express our collective fears during this COVID-19 crisis. The fears can be about anything- they can be personal, global, societal, mundane or profound, everything is valid. Sit down for 5-10 minutes and list all fears that come to your mind without editing out anything. Just write down quickly any thoughts that come to your head. Let it all out. The fears will be recited in-camera or live by one or more performers for the artist’s solo exhibition at 18th Street’s Airport Gallery June-August 2020 as well as possible live performance at NMSU art gallery during the run of the exhibition Labor-Motherhood & Art in 2020 co-curated by Marisa Sage & Laurel Nakadate. The fears list is part of Patty’s project “Milk Debt”, a multipart video and performance project of women pumping breast milk while reciting lists of crowd-sourced fears in various communities world-wide. Chang views lactation as an act of empathy, enabling a woman to be more connected, more open and accepting and less likely to think of oneself first. Channeling the individual fears of those assembled into a public speech transforms them into a message of collective comfort, support and love. “In a time when people are impacted by climate change, governmental policies, and lack of resources, it is vital to find ways to connect with others, be inclusive and compassionate and find ways of making meaning in our world,” states Chang.
The title “Milk Debt” is derived from the concept of a debt in Chinese Buddhism that is ascribed to a child for the impossibility of repaying their mother for raising and feeding them with her breast milk. Breast milk is created when the body starts to produce the hormones prolactin and oxytocin. Oxytocin is also produced when one is in love. “Milk Debt” is an arrangement that binds one to history and to the earth. It is an unpayable debt. “Milk Debt” harkens back to some of Chang’s earliest performances, videos and research projects from the 1990’s in which through self-portraiture and the use of her parents as subjects, she dissected socially constructed ideas of femininity, the boundaries between fear and desire, and the conflict, sacrifice and love inherent in all parent-child relationships. We are making a script based on fears submitted by people who live in the New Mexico -Texas – Mexico border region.
Add your fears here: List of Fears