Curated by: Pavel Kubesa
The Lactism exhibition is a revision of the women’s condition, related to our ecosystem; the project presents a society free of all geopolitical borders. We can do so with help of our utopian religion, founded in Jerusalem. Terms like “nation” and “border”, with their systematic and economic functionality, do not have any relevance for the followers of Lactism.
Lactism, a monotheistic religion, worshiping the Goddess Lacteria as Mother Nature, replaced the patriarchal order that has for centuries ignored the voice of Nature. It became the new religion, completing the group of the three most popular monotheistic religions. The Goddess Lacteria was created by a collective of women and reflects diversity and refers symbolically to the power of the individual in the collective. This way, the collective itself becomes the Goddess.
We did intentionally appropriate the technical process of Francis Galton, the “Father of eugenics”, called Composite Portraiture (or composite photographs)1, to make the visual form of our goddess called Lacteria. The diversity of women creating an imaginary and diverse goddess deliberately re-defines its originally racist purpose.1
The Lacteria Goddess was created by a collective of women: Maayan Sheleff, Věra Duždová Horváthová, Hannan Abu Hussein, Osher Kasa, Lee He Shulov, MIchal Mendelboim, Tran Hong Van, Trương Thu Thủy, Lea Mauas, Noa Pardo, Liora Lupian, Rosa Andraschek.
The core principle of the new Lactism religion is the hadith (i.e., milk-kinship; milk-siblinghood), a concept taken from Islam. Racial and national borders, as well as stereotypes, are obliterated through the consummation of sacred milk gained from the mushroom Lactarius deliciosus (commonly known as: “saffron milk cap” or “(red) pine mushroom”). The mushroom contains the milk of the goddess Lacteria in its cells. The Goddess – Mother Nature – communicates this way, breast-feeding her children with this nourishing milk through the mycelial network. The consummation of this mushroom symbolically changes members of the community into milk-sisters and -brothers.
In this imaginative religion, the mycelium, a huge biological network, has the role of a social network. In the gallery, mycelia and mushrooms were arranged so we can observe their growth. Simultaneously, we observe the impact of the new religion on social media. This way we can compare the progress of man-made technologies with networks existing in the wild. This comparison refers to the validity of human progress in general.
The exhibition is designed as fragment of a fictional temple, built for the cult of the Goddess Lacteria. It is a meta-modernistic experiment, rewriting the history of the human race. The work is a revision of the historic perspective and serves as a platform for discussions about concerns related to climate change, gender inequality, and the direction of our society in general.
The lyrics of the audio accompaniment for the installation refer to gender inequality that is still present in our society. The text is based on the Shadow report on the status of gender equality in the Czech Republic in 2016–2020.2
The work is a revision of the predominant historic perspective and serves as a platform for discussion about fears of climate change, gender inequality and the general trends of development in our society.
Tamara Moyzes (b.1975 Bratislava) is an artist based in Prague. She is a PhD candidate of Academy of Fine Arts in Prague and a MgA graduate of Academy of Fine Arts in Prague. She also studied at the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design in Jerusalem, at the Academy of Fine Arts and Design, Department of Painting, Bratislava, Slovak Republic and Avni Institute of Fine Arts, Tel Aviv, Israel. Moyzes present her strategies concerning her actions in public space and her reaction to actual and social issues, related to the use of media as a tool for political art.
Shlomi Yaffe (b.1973 Tel Aviv) is an artist based in Prague. He is a MgA graduate of the Fine Arts Faculty and the Inter-Media Department of the Brno University of Technology, as well as the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design in Jerusalem. He often deals with social and political issues related unscientific ideas about race and body derived from myths assumptions and ideology.
Curator: Pavel Kubesa
The exhibition was made in cooperation: Jakub Rajnoch and Jan Mucska © 2046
Audio: Sonja Vectomov
The project was inspired by talks with the author’s grandfather. Shlomi’s grandfather describes the microcosmos of life in Jerusalem’s Old City. He points out that he, being Jewish himself, has a Muslim brother. Why? His mother also nursed the son of her Muslim neighbors with her milk.
The project “Lactism: A New Monotheistic Religion Worshiping the Goddess Lacteria” was started in 2022 in Jerusalem, as part of the program of visiting artists LowRes Jerusalem in The Art Cube Artists’ Studios. The curator of the international residential LowRes program is Maayan Sheleff.
We express our thanks to Petra Ezzeddin for her support and advice.
Partners: SONY, Farma Hlína
1 DANIEL NOVAK, in his article “A Model Jew: Literary Photographs and the Jewish Body in Daniel Deronda” criticizes Galton’s method as: Francis Galton, an English proponent of social Darwinism, scientific racism and the “Father of eugenics” carried out an experiment called “Composite Portraiture” (also: composite photographs). It was created for making the “characteristics of typical physiognomy”. In the commentary, he wrote he planned “to obtain with mechanical precision a generalized picture; one that represents no man in particular, but portrays an imaginary figure possessing the average features of any given group of men” (Galton: Composite Portraits, p. 97). In other words, Galton wanted to make science from photographic fiction; to derive a “type” with scientific precision with the help of photographic fiction: a body that does not exist in the real world.
2 Shadow report on the status of gender equality in the Czech Republic in the years 2016–2020, Eva Valentová, Chapter 16, Migrants, Related to Article of the Convention: 3, 11, 12, pp. 91-97.
Czech Television / ČT / ARTZÓNA
Czech Radio / Rozhlas / Hergot! / 4. prosinec 2022