"Diabetic Artist Revisits Roe v. Wade" by Zoe Darling

Although the human body and its complex systems – with their strengths and weaknesses – have always been central to my work, the unrelenting, daily regime of Juvenile Diabetes currently influences much of what and how I create. Recent pieces have been constructed from diabetic paraphernalia that this disease forces me to use, then asks me to throw away. To translate accumulation into a language that communicates a specific duration of time, I sort and organize my diabetic garbage into visual systems. In My Jewels: 120 x 12 the 120 glucose test strips that I used each month add up to a year of time spent. Personal medical data is used to draw attention to the repetitious, ritualistic narratives that hold everyone’s daily life together.

In little love book (gold & green) an ode to roe I draw attention to a different kind of time spent – the time-consuming, manual labor of typing. For this piece I re-transcribe the text of the historic decision of Roe v. Wade, a case decided before my birth, which in my lifetime may be overturned by new Supreme Court appointees. The material for this three-volume accordion includes gold voided personal checks whose pages spill out of green birth control dispensing clamshells. I use an old Royal, on its last legs, to type the text. Banging on this aged machine is nothing like the soft fingertip touches I give my new little laptop. Typing is hard work. And as I work through this piece, I see old dusty New York lofts, with rows and rows of young women – pounding out documents and letters for important men. It made me think of all that has been accomplished to advance women’s rights in the decades before my birth and how a small group of white males – sitting in small safe rooms – are working now to rescind reproductive rights of women. This project is a work in progress. 

Typing Roe v. Wade includes images from a video of me typing little love book (gold & green) an ode to roe. Using at times humorous, at times uncomfortably personal text, I explore the contradictions that exist between the woman who was known as Jane Roe and the Norma McCorvey of today. I also use the extreme differences discovered, to reveal and try to make sense of recent life altering choices I’ve made, with the help of my alter ego, Darling Zoe.

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