Characterised by the entrapment of a perpetual journey, the looping film, entitled Reproductive Exile, follows the fictional story of a woman engaging in cross-border, assisted reproduction and reveals the protagonist’s dependency on an intricate constellation of invisible, co-dependent female bodies, human and non-human, that work, care, constitute and provide for her reproductive journey. These bodies are linked by the production and sharing of animal and human sex hormones central to reproductive technologies.
The story unfolds in a private, international clinic built in a former public sanatorium in Czech Republic, where the lack of legislation associated with reproductive rights offers a degree of freedom to a diverse range of commissioning parents who are driven to the country by a range of social, political and economic forces, whilst sustaining a booming fertility industry.
Here, the protagonist is introduced to ‘Eve’ (short for Evatar), a three-dimensional representation of the female reproductive system. Based on research into recent developments in reproductive science, ‘Eve’ is the future of drug testing in women and personalised medicine.
Pre-clinical research on women’s health has historically involved mostly male-derived cells and male animals. These practices have resulted in a lack of information about female physiology. Eve addresses this historical absence of the female body in the history of its own treatment and, as the protagonist discovers more about her body’s incapacity to produce the hormones she needs, she becomes obsessed with Eve, confiding in her about the drugs she injects daily, derived in some cases from pregnant horse urine and in others from the urine of menopausal women. Focusing on this flow of bodily waste and bodily revenue streams, Beech addresses the power and agency of reproductive relations.
Lucy Beech’s Reproductive Exile (2018) is co-commissioned by Lafayette Anticipations – Fondation d’entreprise Galeries Lafayette, Paris; De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill-on-Sea and Tramway, Glasgow.