M/otherland is the publicatin of Ruth Patir's solo exhibition at the OnCurating Project Space, Zurich, curated by Maayan Sheleff:
Welcome to the curiously futuristic and playfully dystopic archeological museum of Ruth Patir. Here, ancient masks taunt the viewer while female figurines are entranced in a desert rave; relics of wild boar discharge breast milk while fertility goddesses wait in an IVF clinic. Patir’s protagonists’ journey from one work to the next renders them captive in an odyssey that spans both past and future.
M/otherLand is a cross-generational 3D documentary saga that reimagines fertility goddesses from ancient Judean times as real-life mothers. The installation in the OnCurating gallery is comprised of films, multi-screen installations and 3D sculptures. The works deal with the relations between gender representation, reproductive rights and state politics in the contemporary technocentric world. The exhibition extends Patir’s exploration of the politics of gender in the digital age, employing experimental documentary and storytelling methods. She utilizes motion capture technologies and inscribes recordings of real body movements onto the ancient female statuettes – the archeological relics used for fertility rituals currently on display in the national collection of the Israel Museum. On the one hand, Patir releases these figurines from a certain stagnation in their historical gender roles, allowing them to explore their sexuality and femininity in new ways. On the other hand, she accentuates their captivity in a lineage of gender representation and techno-manipulation, complicating the relations between re/production and politics, labour ethics and going into labour.
The works in the exhibition manifest tension between the natural and artificial – clay versus plastic, hand-made versus 3D print, woman versus figurines, real versus virtual, natural pregnancy versus hormones and artificial insemination. Thus, Patir weaves intricate lines around the agency of the female body and the female voice in an age of advanced technology, and problematizes its relation to state politics and governmentality. She implies that technology is on the one hand a privilege not extended to all, and on the other, a form of control. This conflictual realm comes into play in this publication, which you also could find in the exhibition space. It opens with an extended version of the curatorial text and continues as a sort of subconscious disposition of the artist.