Alien, Annie Harmeston’s grotesque, yet seductive series of photographic images, revolve around the taboo of menstruation. Why is it that the menstruating body, still evokes disgust and shame in the 21st century? Don’t speak about it in public. Clean up your mess before anyone sees it. Do not speak about ‘it’ with boys.
Her images depict alien-looking objects, presenting unnatural-looking, detached female organs- very much in the same way women’s bodies are alienated and deemed ‘un-natural’. Presenting these detached organs, zoning in, in grave detail, she mirrors some of the devices of pornography.
‘Alien’ was inspired by the work of Julia Kristeva, who developed the concept of ‘the abject’, in her essay ‘Powers of Horror’. Kristeva asserts that female bodily functions are ‘abjected’ by a patriarchal social order and deemed too or impure for public display or discussion. The term abject, describes something which is neither object nor a subject, but a state which sparks human reaction. In contemporary society, there still remains a conception of the ‘monstorous feminine’, what it is about a woman’s body that is so shocking, repulsive, abject. Alien sortsto challenge this suppressive notion, but to also facilitate discussion surrounding the taboo of menstruation.