GRANT #366:

Vagina Chorus

09/30/2019
Vagina Chorus Is Not What You Think It Is. (OK, It Isn’t What WE Thought It Was.)

When Althea Rao applied for a grant to help develop Vagina Chorus, our first thought was “Nutscuzzi File,” named after an early this-can’t-be-real AWB grant request.

Then we saw her credentials. Althea is an honored artist who specializes in what she calls “social engagement models to facilitate open and playful conversations around topics that are traditionally associated with shame and negativity.”

She says “open and playful,” we say “get ready to squirm.”

Althea is creating a multimedia performance series designed to normalize the conversations around pelvic health and the imperfect female body.

OK, do you know what a Kegel exercise is? (We’ll wait.) The FemTech Company Perifit is going to help Althea turn Bluetooth Kegel training devices (squirmy?) into wearable music instruments with an algorithm that plays musical notes based on the amount of pressure. Imagine a group of people with vaginas all squeezing at the same time, and the result could be multi-voice-part choral compositions via synchronized Kegels in real time. Althea has engaged a composer, and hopes to tour with Vagina Chorus, hosting panel discussions, offering pop-up health clinics featuring handouts on pelvic floor strength, and serious help with the Kegels. She wants your pelvic floor so strong it could qualify for the Chorus. But these are such squirmy conversations for so many, which means there’s not a lot of honest information available to average humans about all the natural processes that come with aging, childbirth and menopause. Or Kegels (and the Kegel product industry, did you even KNOW there was such a thing?).

In order to get Vagina Chorus from concept to chorale, Althea needs to rent performance space, license software, and figure out the ideal costume for the volunteer performers. We admit we’re squirming a little thinking about the costumes, and we enthusiastically engage with the discomfort. (We hope Althea’s proud.)