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Old 04-20-2008, 10:47 AM   #1
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For Senior, abortion a medium for art

http://yaledailynews.com/articles/view/24513

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For senior, abortion a medium for art, political discourse
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Art major Aliza Shvarts ’08 wants to make a statement.

Beginning next Tuesday, Shvarts will be displaying her senior art project, a documentation of a nine-month process during which she artificially inseminated herself “as often as possible” while periodically taking abortifacient drugs to induce miscarriages. Her exhibition will feature video recordings of these forced miscarriages as well as preserved collections of the blood from the process.

The goal in creating the art exhibition, Shvarts said, was to spark conversation and debate on the relationship between art and the human body. But her project has already provoked more than just debate, inciting, for instance, outcry at a forum for fellow senior art majors held last week. And when told about Shvarts’ project, students on both ends of the abortion debate have expressed shock — saying the project does everything from violate moral code to trivialize abortion.

But Shvarts insists her concept was not designed for “shock value.”

“I hope it inspires some sort of discourse,” Shvarts said. “Sure, some people will be upset with the message and will not agree with it, but it’s not the intention of the piece to scandalize anyone.”

The “fabricators,” or donors, of the sperm were not paid for their services, but Shvarts required them to periodically take tests for sexually transmitted diseases. She said she was not concerned about any medical effects the forced miscarriages may have had on her body. The abortifacient drugs she took were legal and herbal, she said, and she did not feel the need to consult a doctor about her repeated miscarriages.

Shvarts declined to specify the number of sperm donors she used, as well as the number of times she inseminated herself.

Art major Juan Castillo ’08 said that although he was intrigued by the creativity and beauty of her senior project, not everyone was as thrilled as he was by the concept and the means by which she attained the result.

“I really loved the idea of this project, but a lot other people didn’t,” Castillo said. “I think that most people were very resistant to thinking about what the project was really about. [The senior-art-project forum] stopped being a conversation on the work itself.”

Although Shvarts said she does not remember the class being quite as hostile as Castillo described, she said she believes it is the nature of her piece to “provoke inquiry.”

“I believe strongly that art should be a medium for politics and ideologies, not just a commodity,” Shvarts said. “I think that I’m creating a project that lives up to the standard of what art is supposed to be.”

The display of Schvarts’ project will feature a large cube suspended from the ceiling of a room in the gallery of Green Hall. Schvarts will wrap hundreds of feet of plastic sheeting around this cube; lined between layers of the sheeting will be the blood from Schvarts’ self-induced miscarriages mixed with Vaseline in order to prevent the blood from drying and to extend the blood throughout the plastic sheeting.

Schvarts will then project recorded videos onto the four sides of the cube. These videos, captured on a VHS camcorder, will show her experiencing miscarriages in her bathrooom tub, she said. Similar videos will be projected onto the walls of the room.

School of Art lecturer Pia Lindman, Schvarts’ senior-project advisor, could not be reached for comment Wednesday night.

Few people outside of Yale’s undergraduate art department have heard about Shvarts’ exhibition. Members of two campus abortion-activist groups — Choose Life at Yale, a pro-life group, and the Reproductive Rights Action League of Yale, a pro-choice group *— said they were not previously aware of Schvarts’ project.

Alice Buttrick ’10, an officer of RALY, said the group was in no way involved with the art exhibition and had no official opinion on the matter.

Sara Rahman ’09 said, in her opinion, Shvarts is abusing her constitutional right to do what she chooses with her body.

“[Shvarts’ exhibit] turns what is a serious decision for women into an absurdism,” Rahman said. “It discounts the gravity of the situation that is abortion.”

CLAY member Jonathan Serrato ’09 said he does not think CLAY has an official response to Schvarts’ exhibition. But personally, Serrato said he found the concept of the senior art project “surprising” and unethical.

“I feel that she’s manipulating life for the benefit of her art, and I definitely don’t support it,” Serrato said. “I think it’s morally wrong.”

Shvarts emphasized that she is not ashamed of her exhibition, and she has become increasingly comfortable discussing her miscarriage experiences with her peers.

“It was a private and personal endeavor, but also a transparent one for the most part,” Shvarts said. “This isn’t something I’ve been hiding.”

The official reception for the Undergraduate Senior Art Show will be from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on April 25. The exhibition will be on public display from April 22 to May 1. The art exhibition is set to premiere alongside the projects of other art seniors this Tuesday, April 22 at the gallery of Holcombe T. Green Jr. Hall on Chapel Street.


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Old 04-20-2008, 10:58 AM   #2
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I tread carefully here, as one of my best friends (who is not a Christian) recently had an abortion; I said to her that; her beliefs are not mine, and it is not my place to judge her; if I agreed or disagreed with what she did is irrelevant, and that I loved her regardless of her decision.

However, quite frankly I think there IS a clear difference between accidental pregancy and insuing abortion and deliberatly making yourself preganant then aborting. I think this woman needs a psychiatrist and/or a psychologist, and should be prosecuted for murder (Unless she was found to be mentally unsound)! Surely even the pro-abortion set would agree this is a rather sick thing to do? Now my position is, and has always been that in a country where the majority are not Christians; they should not be forced to abide by 'Biblical law'; however this I think is sick, and human beings should not be allowed to be killed for art.

I shall also quote Mother Teresa as it is somewhat pertinant to the subject (I do not allow many anti-abortion Christians to speak, for the do not lift a finger to help those they think should keep babies, however I know MT would...)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mother Teresa
"But I feel that the greatest destroyer of peace today is abortion, because it is a war against the child - a direct killing of the innocent child - murder by the mother herself. And if we accept that a mother can kill even her own child, how can we tell other people not to kill one another? How do we persuade a woman not to have an abortion? As always, we must persuade her with love, and we remind ourselves that love means to be willing to give until it hurts. Jesus gave even his life to love us. So the mother who is thinking of abortion, should be helped to love - that is, to give until it hurts her plans, or her free time, to respect the life of her child. The father of that child, whoever he is, must also give until it hurts. By abortion, the mother does not learn to love, but kills even her own child to solve her problems. And by abortion, the father is told that he does not have to take any responsibility at all for the child he has brought into the world. That father is likely to put other women into the same trouble. So abortion just leads to more abortion. Any country that accepts abortion is not teaching the people to love, but to use any violence to get what they want. That is why the greatest destroyer of love and peace is abortion. "



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Old 04-20-2008, 12:19 PM   #3
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I decry those annoying and ugly posters of pro-lifers that showcase abortion and miscarriages. They're annoying and ugly. Simple.

What makes you think I'm going to call videos displaying the miscarriages of fetuses art? It's not art, regardless of wheter a fetus is a human being or not!

I wonder if you can get the pictures or samples of this thing. It doesn't seem right to criticize this, um, project, without actually seeing it first, you know?

Mama Jae sez no. Some of it is outside the bounds of a PG-13 forum.


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Old 04-20-2008, 12:25 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by SilentScope001
I wonder if you can get the pictures or samples of this thing. It doesn't seem right to criticize this, um, project, without actually seeing it first, you know?
Normally I would 100% agree with you, however I refuse to acknowledge this is art; though I suppose I shall still view them jsut cause I dislike those who criticise something without actually knowing anything about it.



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Old 04-20-2008, 02:20 PM   #5
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Well, gee, it's good to know that humanity is rapidly shedding it's humanity. Normal abortion is evil enough. Now we've got this monster deliberately getting herself pregnant so she can slaughter her babies wholesale.
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Old 04-20-2008, 02:22 PM   #6
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This is barbaric in the extreme, as well as yet another example of "art" being used to push a political agenda.

As if we didn't have enough of those already in just about every form of media imaginable.


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Old 04-20-2008, 03:39 PM   #7
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Well, here's the thing--she never tested herself to see if she actually was pregnant. There's no way to determine whether she had repeated miscarriages or if she just had her normal period every 28 days or so.

If the art professors approved this project, I have to ask what they were smoking the day they made that decision--the medical ethics alone of this little 'experiment' have been violated up, down, and sideways.

This isn't art, it's some really sad attempt by this girl to get some bizarre kind of attention--the most generous thing I can say at this point is that she needs to seek mental health evaluation asap. With her logic, we'll soon be taking videos of someone shooting someone else to death and calling that performance art, too.


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Old 04-20-2008, 03:43 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jae Onasi
With her logic, we'll soon be taking videos of someone shooting someone else to death and calling that performance art, too.
Isn't that just an average hollywood film anyway?



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Old 04-20-2008, 04:21 PM   #9
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Yeah, it was weird, I mean, I can understand abortions for medical reasons, even for "mistakes", but getting yourlsef pregnant JUST to have an abortion, that's just disturbing. In any case this reminds of me that "artist" who tied up those dogs and killed them for art(he's apparently being invited to the Latin Art thingy to repeat it). It's not art, and it IS for shock value. It's just distrubing. Couldn't she have just done dome drugs? those always seem to make good artists.


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Old 04-20-2008, 04:33 PM   #10
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"Clinical" snuff films?


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Old 04-20-2008, 04:59 PM   #11
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And they say there's no such thing as a real snuff film.
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Old 04-20-2008, 06:04 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Web Rider
In any case this reminds of me that "artist" who tied up those dogs and killed them for art(he's apparently being invited to the Latin Art thingy to repeat it). It's not art, and it IS for shock value. It's just distrubing.
I'm surprised he a. hasn't been arrested for cruelty to animals and b. PETA hasn't shown up on his doorstep.


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Old 04-20-2008, 06:08 PM   #13
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Dogs don't bother me. At least it's not homocide.
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Old 04-20-2008, 06:35 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jae Onasi
I'm surprised he a. hasn't been arrested for cruelty to animals and b. PETA hasn't shown up on his doorstep.
It took place in some Latin American country where those kinds of groups don't have as much legal say, and animal cruelty doesn't really exist in a legal sense.

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Originally Posted by Corinthian
Dogs don't bother me. At least it's not homocide.
He is purposely murdering animals. Yeah, it's not "homocide" in that he's not killing humans, but the way he's doing it? That's what's really distrubing.

I mean, if he just shot a dog and displayed the body, okay, that's gross, but this guy tied up some dog and let it starve to death. That's just cruel, and he's done it several times now. I'd do it to him in a heartbeat given the chance.


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Old 04-20-2008, 06:36 PM   #15
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Corinthian, the spelling of the word is homicide.

On topic, somehow this seems patently unfair to guys if it's considered 'art' by some people. I mean, we can't just go out and impregnate a whole bunch of women call it 'art'.


All kidding aside, this is an absolutely wretched display of human (non)existence. Even if she didn't get pregnant, it still makes a mockery of a woman's right to choose.




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Old 04-20-2008, 06:43 PM   #16
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This is extreme.
I understand that there is alot of art that is controversial but this is unacceptable to me.


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Old 04-20-2008, 07:02 PM   #17
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Hey, the project doesn't sound all-bad to me. It defied the social norm, inspired emotion, was extremely original... apart from how unpleasant it would probably be to view, it definitely fits my criterion for art.

Of course, it was still a moronic thing to do. The chance of damaging her body somehow aside (I'm far from knowledgeable on repeated abortions, but it doesn't sound healthy) and alienating people she knew aside, it's only giving more red herring to the pro-life crowd. :/


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Old 04-20-2008, 07:11 PM   #18
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Of course, it was still a moronic thing to do. The chance of getting pregnant and alienating people she knew aside, it's only giving more red herring to the pro-life crowd. :/
ED as I stated earlier, I draw a distinction between accidental pregnancy and the right to abort, and this, and while as people have pointed out she won't know if she was pregnant or not, I think becoming pregnant to deliberate abort, is tantamount to murder.

At the very least this is completely de-valuing human life; should I be allowed to go out out on the street with a shotgun and shoot someone in the stumach, then photohgraph it and its art?



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Old 04-20-2008, 07:47 PM   #19
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Quote:
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I draw a distinction between accidental pregnancy and the right to abort,
But the fact you're against abortion in some form or another means you've placed an intrinsic value upon human life... how does the method of its conception change said value?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jonathan7
I think becoming pregnant to deliberate abort, is tantamount to murder.
By calling those abortions 'murder' you've assumed the fetuses in question are people. That raises a number of questions; what made said fetuses people at all, and how was your friend's abortion justified when compared to this case? (See my above paragraph in the case that question seemed impertinent.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by jonathan7
At the very least this is completely de-valuing human life;
Meaning there must be some value in this stage of human life to take value from...

Quote:
Originally Posted by jonathan7
should I be allowed to go out out on the street with a shotgun and shoot someone in the stumach, then photohgraph it and its art?
If you both consent to it, sure. Though good luck getting the people who view the photograph to believe you were.

Of course, that example doesn't apply unless it's (empirically) proven < 1-month-old fetuses are people.


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Old 04-20-2008, 07:54 PM   #20
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While I don't actually believe that she's committing murder, this still is the dumbest thing I've seen. And I've seen FOX's Morning Idol (not by choice, mind you ).

And after so many miscarriages (assuming they actually are miscarriages), she probably won't be able to have any children any time soon. Poetic justice.


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Old 04-20-2008, 07:59 PM   #21
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A hoax?

(Regardless, it's still interesting even as a hypothetical.)


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Old 04-20-2008, 07:59 PM   #22
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avoiding a total abortion debate which has been covered a dozen times, it's likly he draws a distinction between murder and abortion due to the motive. Much like real murder and self defense.

edit: hoax you say? Well, that certainly raises her the low level of person I consider her, though I still consider her "art hoax" stupid and her a jerk.


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Old 04-20-2008, 08:40 PM   #23
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Well, I'm relieved that she wasn't monstrous enough to actually do it. I'd complain about her trivializing infanticide, but frankly, it's been trivialized enough as is, so it doesn't really matter. Still, she's clearly a sick woman who needs a good beating, preferably administered with a baseball bat.
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Old 04-20-2008, 08:51 PM   #24
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Well, not a beating. but a few visits to the farmhouse would do


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Old 04-20-2008, 08:53 PM   #25
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Personally, the first "solution" to this that comes to mind is to make her actually go through with a pregnancy. obviously, this can't be done to a person, but I think it's really the only solution without violence that would make her understand how heavy of an issue this is, and to not make light of it.


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Old 04-20-2008, 08:54 PM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Corinthian
Still, she's clearly a sick woman who needs a good beating, preferably administered with a baseball bat.
Corinthian, I’m shocked, are you condoning a very late term abortion?

I hate this type of art form. I’d say she got the desired effect by making Fox News and The Washington Post. Hope she receives an A.


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Old 04-20-2008, 08:54 PM   #27
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Employing the other meaning of "tanning hides" no doubt.

Still, if this is what passes for art, the art world is a sick and twisted place.


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Old 04-20-2008, 09:01 PM   #28
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Quote:
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But the fact you're against abortion in some form or another means you've placed an intrinsic value upon human life... how does the method of its conception change said value?
I place value on human life; and my own stance on abortion (and those of the Christian faith) is different to those who are not Christians. Purely because I do not expect non-Christians to behave as Christians. And in the UK, where less than 5% of the population are religious I fail to see why they should follow religious laws they do not believe in.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Emperor Devon
By calling those abortions 'murder' you've assumed the fetuses in question are people. That raises a number of questions; what made said fetuses people at all, and how was your friend's abortion justified when compared to this case? (See my above paragraph in the case that question seemed impertinent.)
In answer;

Quote:
Originally Posted by Web Rider
it's likly he draws a distinction between murder and abortion due to the motive. Much like real murder and self defense.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Emperor Devon
Meaning there must be some value in this stage of human life to take value from...
Aye, but we have different world views

Quote:
Originally Posted by Emperor Devon
If you both consent to it, sure. Though good luck getting the people who view the photograph to believe you were.
In my example I didnt have the consent of the other hypothetical person, however I'm still calling it art, and I'm not guilty of murder as I'm being artistic and aiming to provoke thought.

I realise we are straying into the realsm of 'when life begins' and given there are other abortion threads, we should perhaps skirt that issue?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Corinthian
Well, I'm relieved that she wasn't monstrous enough to actually do it. I'd complain about her trivializing infanticide, but frankly, it's been trivialized enough as is, so it doesn't really matter. Still, she's clearly a sick woman who needs a good beating, preferably administered with a baseball bat.
Eh? I do hope your joking, otherwise how on earth, does responding in that way teach her she's wrong? Responding to idocy/violoance (depending how you classify it) with violence, seems a silly attitude to take. Its about as logical as killing someone who has murdered another (again another debate for elsehwere).

I'm glad this was a hoax, and it does spin it into another light; which I think can be classified as art.



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Old 04-21-2008, 01:26 AM   #29
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Originally Posted by Totenkopf
Still, if this is what passes for art, the art world is a sick and twisted place.
It's my opinion that the art world has been in trouble ever since splatter art started passing for art. But still, like religion, this person represents a very very small faction of "artists".


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Old 04-21-2008, 01:12 PM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Emperor Devon
A hoax?

(Regardless, it's still interesting even as a hypothetical.)
Now that I can call art. Hoaxes are fun.


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Old 04-21-2008, 01:16 PM   #31
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Originally Posted by Web Rider
It's my opinion that the art world has been in trouble ever since splatter art started passing for art.
Damn that Jackson Pollock, eh?!

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Old 04-21-2008, 11:42 PM   #32
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Originally Posted by Emperor Devon
Hey, the project doesn't sound all-bad to me. It defied the social norm, inspired emotion, was extremely original... apart from how unpleasant it would probably be to view, it definitely fits my criterion for art.
Hmm--deliberately getting oneself pregnant with the intention to abort in violation of all sorts of ethics and good medical sense. Sure, you feel free to call it 'art'. I'll continue to call it psychotic.

Any professors approving this art project were completely and utterly irresponsible. This girl could have hemorrhaged or made herself seriously ill or even died using herbal remedies as abortifacients, and allowing her to put herself at physical risk along with any theoretical babies in the name of some half-witted 'art' project was foolish, unethical, selfish, and idiotic. They failed in their responsibility as professor(s) to this girl, and they should be fired if they knew about this project and allowed it to go forward.

Yale said it's a hoax. The girl later came out and said it wasn't a hoax and that Yale's just trying to cover it's butt.


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Old 04-21-2008, 11:49 PM   #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jae Onasi
Hmm--deliberately getting oneself pregnant with the intention to abort in violation of all sorts of ethics and good medical sense. Sure, you feel free to call it 'art'. I'll continue to call it psychotic.

Any professors approving this art project were completely and utterly irresponsible. This girl could have hemorrhaged or made herself seriously ill or even died using herbal remedies as abortifacients, and allowing her to put herself at physical risk along with any theoretical babies in the name of some half-witted 'art' project was foolish, unethical, selfish, and idiotic. They failed in their responsibility as professor(s) to this girl, and they should be fired if they knew about this project and allowed it to go forward.

Yale said it's a hoax. The girl later came out and said it wasn't a hoax and that Yale's just trying to cover it's butt.
It has gotten to the point unfortunately where things like that can pass for art, now it doesn't mean that it isn't morally reprehensible, but it is something to think about, I mean what is art, can it be subjective and should it be? of course the operative word in my opinion when somebody debates whether something can be considered art is relativism but you can take that to the bank.


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