To mass media fanfare, performance artist Marni Kotak gave birth in a Brooklyn gallery last year and now, as planned, she’s “re-contextualizing the everyday act of raising a child” and wants your donations. Here’s her first podcast, Baby New Year. Sigh.
What’s the draw here again? Will the twenty “sincerely interested” and “really supportive” exhibit visitors and live birth watchers tune in? This isn’t the miracle of birth, in all it’s magical/wonderful/intimate/horrific/pornographic splendor. This is a baby in a diaper being bounced around and sprinkled with confetti. He’s a baby being a baby like all other babies and he’s not even doing anything particularly amazing.
Yet, Kotak calls this “a collaboration” and wants you to donate to Raising Baby X: The First Year and fund her podcasts of “breastfeeding, play time, bedtime stories, lullabies, holidays and key milestones in his development.”
Wait… wait… In October, Marni Kotak said this about Facebook and Twitter:
“I have always had a deep-seated disdain for Facebook… I never log on just to post status updates or such about the details of my life. My life is for me to experience in an authentic way and not for Mark Zuckerberg and the rest of the company’s shareholders to make more money from… I do feel that people today are desperately seeking a sense of meaning in their lives. Facebook is feeding into that and providing — what I see as an ultimately empty — solution for a hyper-mediated world… The more time that people spend on social networking sites and the less time they spend engaging in authentic experiences with friends and family in the real world — and yes, I do still think there is a real world — the more they are denying the significance of their own human experience. This in turn leads to a greater sense of desperation to find meaning in their lives, more wasted hours on Facebook, and so on and so forth. It is a vicious cycle.
Good points, Kotak! Wait. So, someone with “disdain” for the “vicious cycle” of compulsive online updates and its damage to “authentic experiences” is turning a year of her motherhood — and her baby’s babyhood! — into a compulsively documented performance? So, she’s not using a corporate social media platform to post details about her life. Instead, she’s “re-contextualizing motherhood” by posting details about her life on her own platform for pay, with the commendable savviness of an internet sex worker. Disappointingly, she’s delivering content about as exciting as the average mother who posts details about her life on Facebook. There’s absolutely no difference aside from the forced “art” label. I want to like this, but it just seems dull and hypocritical.
Am I biased as a self-identified non-parent? Parents, do you “get” this?