“Labour” is a hand knitted data visualisation that tells the story of my daughter’s birth. Each square represents one of the 15 hours between my waters breaking and my daughter being born. Different colours, patterns and textures indicate where I was, what emotions I went through, the intensity of the contractions and other sensations, the support I received, and what hormone likely dominated the situation. The blanket is accompanied by a 5mn audio soundscape. The act of knitting evokes waiting, expectation and hours of hard work. Thus, it becomes an accurate reflection of pre-birth and labour. During the few days preceding and following her birth, all I wanted was to crawl into bed and hide from the outside world. It is likely that my body was craving melatonin, a hormone released in dark, calm and safe situations. Melatonin boosts the production of the birth hormone, oxytocin, which in turns helps to release endorphins, our bodies’ natural pain relief. The blanket represents the place of safety I was craving during that time.
fansissoko, “Fan Sissoko,” Artist Parent Index , accessed May 7, 2021, https://artistparentindex.com/items/show/354.
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