Maternity Leave

2011 / baby monitor, custom plinth, microphone, laptop, internet, live audio feed, baby

For three months the sound of the distant domestic world of my home and eight week old baby was transmitted via live audio feed to an empty gallery in the Carnegie Museum of Art.

At home a microphone was located directly above the baby’s cot that captured every murmur, cry and lullaby. In the museum the sound was broadcast live through a white plastic baby monitor, standing alone on a pedestal in the middle of a large empty gallery. Every visitor to the exhibition overheard a private, intimate world occurring concurrently two miles away.

For the duration of the exhibition I was on maternity leave from my work as an artist. In exchange for the sound broadcast, the museum publicly paid me a weekly maternity allowance of around $200, exactly equivalent to the government allowance for freelance artists I would have been eligible for were I living at home in the U.K. rather than in America where there is no paid federal maternity leave.

Commissioned by Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh for the Pittsburgh Biennial 2011, curated by Dan Byers.