Performance artist Marni Kotak plans to give birth to her first child in front of a live audience.
The artist, who is due in a few weeks, will turn her labour into art by giving birth at the Microscope Gallery in Brooklyn, New York.
Kotak and her painter husband Jason Robert Bell have created a home-birth centre in the gallery complete with an inflatable pool.
The space Kotak will give birth in resembles a bedroom, decorated with blue walls, cosy blankets and family pictures. A double bed in the gallery was originally owned by Kotak’s grandmother, and was later used to conceive Kotak’s baby.
Both a midwife and a doula will be present in the gallery room, along with Kotak’s husband Bell and gallery spectators.
About 15 people are expected to watch the birth – the most the room can comfortably allow.
Husband Bell will document the birth, but no other cameras will be permitted.
The gender of the baby is unknown, and Kotak and Bell have not picked out names.
The free exhibit is named ‘The Birth of Baby X.’
The gallery has extended its hours to remain open seven days a week until the birth.
Should there be an emergency, a hospital is less than half a mile away.
Kotak has been spending the time building a rapport with gallery visitors, and she says her audience “won’t be total strangers.”
“I’m developing an authentic relationship with these people,” she said. “For me, it’s like building a community of people who are really interested in this.”
She says her performances focus on everyday experiences.
The 36-year-old has previously re-enacted losing her virginity and her grandfather’s funeral.
After giving birth in front of the audience, Kotak expects to shower behind a clear plastic curtain and then breastfeed her baby.