Receptive Mo(nu)ment by Adinda van ’t Klooster

Receptive Mo(nu)ment, 2004

In the summer of 2003 Adinda van 't Klooster was awarded the twelve months residency at Gloucester Cathedral. There she consolidated her previous research into fertility and the female body in a series of installations and one performance work (Sarah Was Ninety years Old).
Receptive Mo(nu)ment was the first installation made during the residency. This sculptural installation temporarily transformed the crypt space of Gloucester Cathedral into a womb-like interior. The crypt was originally used as a "bone-house", storing bones of deceased monks. The red jesmonite shapes emerging from the sand are based on pinopods: cellular protrusions that emerge and retreat on the uterine lining within about two days of the menstrual cycle. Pinopods were first discovered about 45 years ago and are thought to be indicative of the stage when an embryo can implant in the womb. However, their precise function is still debated in the medical world. This installation reinforces the cyclical nature of life. van 't Klooster's womb interiors symbolise the ingenuity of the female body and nature's design of reproduction, and remind the viewer of science's limited understanding of fertility.

* Enders and Nelson coined the term drinking foot (pinopod) after they discovered that ferritin introduced into the rat endometrial cavity was taken up by these structures. Pinopods have since been observed in the endometrium of a variety of species, including human beings, but their function may not be universal.