Period Piece

London exhibit explores intersection of tech and menstruation


A new pop-up exhibit at the Science Gallery London explores a fundamental, but nevertheless taboo aspect of every woman’s life: menstruation. Featuring poetry, art, and music, the show is aptly titled “Period Piece.”

As The Guardian reports, the exhibit was spearheaded by Alana Harris, a historian at King’s College London. A major focus of the show is the way in which people have sought to control women’s reproductive systems over time — through ideology, through birth control, or through technology.

One feature of the show, for instance, is a piece of music inspired by the fluctuating body temperatures charted by four women using a fertility app, which can track physical changes caused by ovulation. Also on display is a word cloud sourced from reactions to the Humanae Vitae, a 1968 papal document that condemned the birth control pill. Instead, the Church counseled adhering to the “specific rhythms” of the body — something that proponents of fertility apps rely on today to prevent pregnancy.

The circular, yet changing nature of birth control trends fascinates Harris. “With fertility apps, a woman is monitoring her cycle, but she can invite her partner to join her on the app and so be involved,” she told The Guardian. “And the times when you can have sex are curtailed, so that brings back a certain restraint, something both partners have to agree on. In this way, decision-making stresses partnership much more.”

Read the full story at The Guardian.


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