Artificial Womb

The debate around the metaphysics of the fetal-maternal relationship during gestation has been surrounding whether the fetus is seen as a part of the maternal organism (“the parthood model”), or a separate entity merely residing inside (“the container model”), with latter being the dominant narrative when it comes to discussions and practices related to artificial wombs. By proposing a new way to think about an artificial womb as an extension or augmentation of the body, this wearable organ questions the dichotomy of the two fetal-maternal relationship models. 

The womb, as a part of the mother’s body, is constantly gazed at and externalized by technologies such as ultrasound for scientific discourse. Numerous imaginary visual representations of the artificial womb are also usually illustrated as see-through glassware or plastic containers being exposed and exhibited for observers to view and examine the reproduction process. Covered fully in white, the inside of the artificial womb is only revealed when invited observers approach the body and peep into holes with elastic spring tubes. This wearable and gesture challenges the voyeuristic instinct and tendency regarding a mother’s body by intentional obfuscation. Instead, it introduces an interaction with care and mutual consent, reexamining the power dynamics between the observer and the body, and reacquiring the agency of the artificial womb.

Year: 2021
Material: Plastic, Paint, Spring, Rope
@Jingyao Shao 2024