After secretly recording her parents making love in her work “Lovemaking”, Hu Yinping introduces us to the technique of choosing the sex of our children.“Thanks”is the result of a two year research in collaboration with a genetics specialist based in a famous public hospital in Beijing. The technique has been tested on a dozen Chinese parents who all successfully obtained the baby boy they wanted.
Q： Why would you want to make such a work as “Thanks”?
It was a project I had deep at heart for a long time and felt I needed to realize it as soon as possible. Space#3 gave me this opportunity.
Q： Why did you feel this need?
I was born in 1983, one year after the One Child Policy was added to the constitution. My generation is practically all made of Only Children. The steps that brought China to such a policy were first, Ma Huang’s “New Population Regulation theory” written in 1957 and second, its acting out in the 5 year plan of 1971.
Birth control was at its strictest when I was born: people only had one chance to have the kid of their dreams. I come from a very traditional family of land owners and for instance, my Grandparent’s marriage was pre-arranged. So when my parents had me they weren’t very happy to see they had given birth to a baby girl: someone who couldn’t be able to continue the family business, someone who couldn’t pass on the family name, and more importantly a money hole.
So the environment I grew up felt very unsecure, I was a burden to my family, some unwanted pressure and “Thanks” is artwork dedicated to explain what kind of childhood most girls of my generation had.
Q： So how did your work come to life?
5 years ago, a good friend of mine absolutely wanted to give birth to a baby boy. Then, the One Child Policy was still carried out. And so they went to the capital to see a specialist in genetics. He told them how to proceed and a year afterward, they were strolling with their newborn baby boy.
This is how I understood that from a scientific point of view, the matter isn’t complex at all: the chances of obtaining a boy or a girl depends on the acidity of our blood. But however easy it is to influence the gender of our progenies, the information isn’t usually shared with the public. One may know that to keep the balance between genders, it is strictly forbidden for Chinese people to know the gender of their children before birth.
So I decided to transcribe what I had learnt in a step to step “technique” which is read by two young kids and made in two recordings in CD format. The vocabulary was changed to suit their development and sounds like a class you could/should attend in primary school.
Q：How scientific is your “technique”? Have you tried it before.
For over 4 years, I had a dozen friends coming to me having in mind to give birth to baby boys. All were successful but for discretion’s sake, only two families were willing to share their experience.
Q：What is the result you are aiming for when sharing this knowledge?
In China, there is a possibility of “race extinction”. It happens that when writing the info for our new exhibition, our article was blocked 3 times in three attempts to publish it online. So in the end we just opted for soft version of we meant to introduce. Most people that come to see the exhibition don’t know what they are going to see.
In the case where the technique is 99% successful, I think it will be a good thing for parents to consciously make the decision of having a kid; also, knowing that they are having the baby they dream of, maybe it will push them to want and care for them the best they can.
Q： Why having this exhibition in such a small gallery?
This exhibition is only the beginning of my project. I hope that it will keep on spreading in the years to come. The main tool I use is a CD that I can distribute when I travel. I am also planning to make a movie of my progress so far that I want to show in the less developed parts of China.
The plan seems evil and the CDs are expensive. But all the money I could possibly make will only be used to spread the technique even farther. I heard that places like some parts of India also valued men as superior to women, so I want to see how far this ancestral discrimination toward women can go.
Q：Will you talk to your parents about this technique?
Some members of my family like my aunt’s husband already know about the technique. At the age of 61 and in order to perpetrate the family name, has illegally paid a woman to lend him her stomach in order to give birth to a baby boy.
I will be very mindful of the words I use with my parents though because I can’t blame them for their actions when I consider their generation and the history they have been through. After all, they are the victims as well as perpetrators of their times. This tradition of regarding men as superior to women will hopefully go with them.
Q：Will you use the technique yourself?
Maybe, but I am not planning to have kids yet. “Thanks” is more of an exhibition destined to my family. Although they remain so very sexist, my conclusion is that I really thank them to have given birth to me.
Being able to choose the sex of your child is possible.