Speculums have shown up in archaeological digs as far back as 79 AD amidst the dust of Pompeii. However, the apparatus most women experience today in vaginal exams is credited to the physician James Marion Sims, sometimes called the “father of American gynecology,” a moniker earned on the backs of experiments conducted on enslaved women. Rooted in both research and object-making, legendary artist Nao Bustamante creates a cross-disciplinary investigation centered around the design of this medical tool and its use in the history of the pelvic examination.

Joined by musician and performance artist Geo Wyex, interdisciplinary artist Marcus Kuiland-Nazario, and composer and reiki master Pamela Martínez, Bustamante creates a performance that is part séance, part pageant to make way for a new era of examination of the device as well as its patriarchal inventors. And while the desired result is an invitation to think about ways to make the tool less unpleasant for the millions of patients who encounter it each year, the work also boldly focuses on the speculum’s impact on timely issues of women’s health practices.

Photo © Nao Bustamante

Return to the Making Space at the Armory Listing

Return to Arts at the Armory Listing  

September 10, 2022

Saturday, September 10 at 3:00pm
Tickets: $25 (plus fees)

Health and Safety Protocols
All ticket-holders must be fully vaccinated. “Fully vaccinated” means that you received your final dose of an FDA or WHO-approved vaccine at least 14 days before your performance date. At check-in, ticket holders will be required to show proof of full vaccination (the New York State Excelsior Pass or a hard copy or photo of your vaccination card) and a government-issued photo ID.

All patrons and staff are required to wear masks while inside the Armory except when actively eating or drinking in designated areas (N95, KN95 or KF94 masks are recommended). To view additional COVID-19 Policies, please visit our FAQs page.

Sign up for our email list to get notifications and reminders about purchasing tickets for this and other upcoming events.