Video, 131 min. None

THE MOTHERHOOD ARCHIVES is a lyrical essay film interwoven as an archival montage, science fiction, and homage to 1970s feminist filmmaking. The film is a collection of found-footage excavating into concealed histories of childbirth in the twentieth century. As she became a young mother, and out of a personal desire to know more about the history of birth, Lusztig started collecting old maternity footage, including images, film stills, and video excerpts that she found online. Assembled then as a curated video archive, this work questions how motherhood and childbirth are interpreted within Western mainstream societal and structural visualisations.

Compiled from over 100 educational, industrial, and medical training films, this video collage unravels complex genealogies of maternal education, part of which might be surprising or even disturbing from today’s perspective. The work traces the process of childbirth through histories of pain and obstetric anaesthesia, as well as the little understanding of natural labour and Lamaze education. By revealing a world of intensive training, rehearsal, and performative preparation for the unknown experience of delivery, the work is a meditation on the maternal body as a site of institutional control, ideological surveillance, medical knowledge, and nationalist state intervention.

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