The Foundling

by Patricia Piccinini (2008)

This work come from a conversation I had with a woman during my exhibition at the Frye Museum in Seattle in 2007. She told me she had two daughters aged 11 and 7 who she had adopted from China. Both of these girls had been abandoned by their parents because they had a cleft palettes. Since it is a genetic condition, it is very difficult for girls like this to find husbands, and since the one child per family-policy provides families with only one shot at offspring, such girls are often just dumped and end up in orphanages.

In the US however a cleft palette is not really a big deal. These girls are now living a completely normal life. Their condition has been treated, they can have boyfriends and marry. Nobody makes a fuss about it. So there’s a really big influence of culture on the kind of space an individual is allowed to take. In our culture we give these girls medical treatment to give allow them to join our society. But at the same time medicine is also functioning to repress differences; because we can 'cure' a cleft palette, it becomes a disease rather than just an individuality.

If you look at the Foundling, you see a baby creature in a car safety capsule. It is not exactly an attractive baby, but it has these huge eyes that ask to be loved. It doesn’t really fit in the capsule, and it doesn’t really have a place to belong. I imagine the audience might ask themselves whether they could provide this creature with a loving environment. The deeper ethical question is how do we take responsibility for mistakes we made? And who are we to decide on who or what has a place or not. You can ask yourself that question when we cut down tropical forests destroying the natural habitat of apes or when we introduce transgenic creatures or plants. In the end it is the same question you will have to answer. For me it is not about saving species, it is about individuals.




Interview with The Condition Report by Patricia Piccinini and The Condition report

Just Because Something Is Bad, Doesn't Mean It Isn't Good by Basak Doga Temur

Patricia Piccinini interviewed by Jane Messenger by Jane Messenger

Speculative Fabulations for Technoculture's Generations by Donna Haraway

The Naturally Artificial World by Laura Fernandez Orgaz and Patricia Piccinini

Border Patrol by Stella Brennan

We Are Family: Patricia Piccinini at the 50th Biennale of Venice by Linda Michael

Patricia Piccinini's Offspring by Peter Hennessey

Fast forward: accelerated evolution by Rachel Kent

One Night Love by Nikos Papastergiadis

Autoerotic by Amanda Rowell

One Night Love by Linda Michael

Atmosphere by Juliana Engberg

Biopshere by Edward Colless

Patricia Piccinini: Ethical Aesthetics by Jacqueline Millner

Patricia Piccinini - Early Installations by Peter Hennessey

The NESS Project and the Birth of Truck Babies by Hiroo Yamagata

Some thoughts about Embryo by Patricia Piccinini

The Rookie by Patricia Piccinini

The Shadows Calling by Patricia Piccinini

Meditations on the continuum of vitality by Patricia Piccinini

Six observations about The Skywhale by Patricia Piccinini

Those Who Dream by Night by Patricia Piccinini

The Fitzroy Series by Patricia Piccinini

Eulogy by Patricia Piccinini

The Lovers by Patricia Piccinini

The Welcome Guest by Patricia Piccinini

The Observer by Patricia Piccinini

Aloft by Patricia Piccinini

Balasana by Patricia Piccinini

The Gathering by Patricia Piccinini

Perhaps the World is Fine Tonight by Patricia Piccinini

Bottom Feeder by Patricia Piccinini

Not Quite Animal by Patricia Piccinini

The Long Awaited by Patricia Piccinini

The Foundling by Patricia Piccinini

In Another Life by Patricia Piccinini

Big Mother by Patricia Piccinini

Bodyguard by Patricia Piccinini

Sandman by Patricia Piccinini

The Leather Landscape by Patricia Piccinini

The Young Family by Patricia Piccinini

Still Life With Stem Cells by Patricia Piccinini

Swell by Patricia Piccinini

The Breathing Room by Patricia Piccinini

Truck Babies by Patricia Piccinini