I dreamed last night that I was an artist, and that my latest work was being shown.
I dreamed that I had impregnated myself, and that, after six months of rest and tender silence, I’d carefully aborted the fetus. I dreamt that this translucent figure, so perfect in its unblemished stillness, was being displayed in the center of a vast gallery, suspended forever in a clear glass spotlit sphere. I dreamt that the piece was titled either ‘the problem,’ or ‘the prophecy,’ or, perhaps, both.
I dreamed that in my dream no one understood–and there were so many no ones!– why I had done such a thing. I dreamt that I did not know either; I knew only that I’d known I’d felt I had no choice but to make this terrible sacrifice. I dreamt, in my dream, I was an artist mute with sorrow and rage.
When I woke up I wondered whether anyone had in fact, and not in dream, done such a thing, in part because as an act of sovereignty it seemed necessary that the artist be a woman, and it part because of how visceral and painful and endlessly provocative the thought. Outside a related controversial project by a recent Yale art student, I could find nothing, and now I am a little scared to post this.
Of course to bear a child is to condemn it to death; of course many artists sacrifice children to their work; of course the philosophical question around whether art can ever be worth a human life is not a new one; of course this was only a dream. Still, I have been so angry recently, and so very preoccupied with women and with power and with dying. Still, there is the ambiguity of an aborted sacrifice. Still, and after all, this is a dream.