“What if it were possible to synthesize hormones in the kitchen?” This is the question
Mary Maggic’s speculative work Housewives Making Drugs addresses. Set as a fictional cooking show—part Martha Stewart and part Martha Rosler—Housewives Making Drugs is from Maggic’s larger project Open Source Estrogen, which generates DIY protocols for the extraction and detection of the estrogen hormone from bodies and environments, demonstrating its micro-performativity and potential for gender-hacking. Employing an over-the-top performativity, Housewives Making Drugs stars two transfemme hosts, Maria and Maria, who teach the audience how to cook their own hormones step-by-step through a simple “urine-hormone extraction recipe.” At the same time, they banter wittily about body and gender politics, institutional access to hormones, and the problems of heteronormative society. Set in the domestic and politicized space of the kitchen, Housewives Making Drugs demystifies scientific protocols—removing them from their patriarchal and capitalist power structures to stage a scenario where the housewife-hacker gains endocrinological knowledge and body/gender sovereignty while subverting the traditional gendered norms typified by the kitchen.
Mary Maggic is a non-binary artist working at the intersection of biotechnology, cultural discourse, and civil disobedience. Their work includes documentary video, scientific methodology, public workshopology, performance, and large-scale installation. Maggic holds a BSA in Biological Science and Art from Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, and an MS in Media Arts and Sciences from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge. They have exhibited and performed at numerous institutions, including Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin; OK Center, Linz, Austria; Haus der elektronischen Kunst, Basel; Jeu de Paume, Paris; the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London; and Spring Workshop, Hong Kong.