Researchers: Yvonne Pelling, Professional Doula and incoming graduate student researcher, Concordia University and WhiteFeather Hunter, Principal Investigator and Technician for the Speculative Life BioLab at the Milieux Institute for Arts, Culture and Technology at Concordia University.


One of the popular names for a kombucha SCOBY (Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast) is a “mother”. This refers to the fact that the cellulosic layer that forms a protective cover over the kombucha liquid as it ferments, also produces younger layers called “daughters”. These daughters are often shared or passed on from an experienced kombucha brewer to a new brewer, to become their new kombucha mothers of a
whole new, unique culture.

It is this metaphor that we play on in this piece, meant to showcase a representation of the interior beauty present in a pregnant woman’s form. Yvonne Pelling draws from her experience of working as a doula to support birthing mothers, to materialize this exploration of who she (the mother) is, from the inside as a creator, a giver of life. WhiteFeather’s interest in the agency of microbes and the role they play in making up who we are as individuals, informs the use of kombucha SCOBY to creatively generate a new “body”.

Mother asks us, “What is beautiful?” Who are we, as we grow and create new forms? Can invisible bacteria, which live and multiply in the gut, expose the linage of every birthing woman and the beauty of what sits within her? Can they give a voice to the strength, power and vulnerability that birth creates inside a body?

*Mother is a collaborative work-in-progress.

Yvonne Pelling with Mother at Boochfest, Ottawa.

Exhibitions/ Publications:

Boochfest 2018, Ottawa

B10BASH!, Ottawa

Shown here: Bucci (left, foreground) with Théo Chauvirey/ WhiteFeather and Mother (background, right) with Yvonne Pelling/ WhiteFeather at B10BASH!, Ottawa.


CBC Radio interview with WhiteFeather and Boochfest co-founder, Drew Williams, here.

‘Mother’ — A Living Piece of ArtRock the Cradle blog.

On devrait échouer plus souvent, Le Droit [article in French only]

WhiteFeather Hunter, Theo Chauvirey and Yvonne Pelling generated much buzz/fizz at Boochfest (Milieux Institute News)

WhiteFeather with Mother and Bucci, at B10BASH!, Ottawa. Photo credit: Etienne Ranger, Le Droit

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