Live human birth: You never saw this at the county fair

A few weeks back we found ourselves at a county fair witnessing the live birth of a calf (as one does). It was equal parts fascinating, horrifying and beautiful and reminded us of exactly how animalistic the human birth experience can be. But where humans get forceps or perhaps a c-section when things get tricky, this poor calf was pulled out with a heavy metal chain tugged on by three burly farmers. The crowd at the fair oohed and aahed with each contraction as if they were at a fireworks display, while a moderator encouraged us all to be as quiet as possible because, you know, the cow didn’t exactly give her permission for us all to be there and we were probably a tad distracting.

Well, a Brooklyn performance doesn’t seem to have that concern (then again, performance artists never do, do they?). Pregnant Marni Kotak is turning Bushwick’s Microscope Gallery into her “birthing room” - she’s hanging out there now until her baby is born, which will be sometime in the next five weeks. And when the contractions begin, she won’t rush off to the hospital. Instead, her husband, doula and midwife will come to her, and any visitors to the art gallery are welcome to watch. Oohs and aahs (and ewwws) optional, we’re assuming.