Wednesday, 28 June

Darwin+

Wed 28 June | 10:00 - 17:00

Lab

Centre for Innovation

Ectogenesis, Artificial Womb, Human Egg? Hosted by Next Nature Network

Humanity is facing the disconnection between biological reproduction and the body, facilitated by the emerging technology of the Artificial Womb. Envisioned in bleak science fiction scenarios many times in the past, this technology is about to become a reality in our present. But how will it affect our culture – and how should that new culture be designed? And who should be involved in that process? If birds lay eggs, why shouldn’t humans do that, too?

Future Anthropology
After exploring possible food cultures with the Meat the Future project, Next Nature Network sets out to explore the Artificial Womb and its implications on gender, biological reproduction, relationships and love in the future. During a full-day co-creation session at Border Sessions, we will explore both the dreams and the nightmares of this emerging technology. Participants will collaborate on a series of narratives and craft together a piece of ‘design fiction’.

Pyramid of Technology
The creative process will be guided by the Pyramid of Technology, a new speculative design tool and method developed by Next Nature Network that visualizes how technology becomes nature and what we can learn from that. It helps us to dream, build and live in our next nature – the nature caused by humans. For more information about the Pyramid of Technology, click here.

Next Nature Network
Next Nature Network is the international network for anyone interested in joining the debate on our
future, in which nature and technology are fusing. For more information on the Artificial Womb project, see this article and this timeline on the website of Next Nature Network. For more information about the Pyramid of Technology, click here.

The workshop includes a presentation of the Youterus project by Nana MacLean (biologist) and Charlotte Marabito (artist).

Outline:
— Duration: 10:00-17:00
— 50 participants
— Format: participants will work in small groups to produce narratives around the artifical womb and present these in a multimedial way, using objects and images placed on the Pyramid of Technology

Experts

Hendrik-Jan Grievink is designer at Next Nature Network. As a follow-up to the Meat The Future project by Next Nature Network (2013–2016), he is now leading ‘Ectogenesis, Artificial Womb, Human Egg?’, a new research project that explores the potential impact of the artificial womb on biological reproduction, sexuality and relationships in the future. Hendrik-Jan regularly leads workshops and has recently launched the Pyramid of Technology workshop toolkit.

Nana MacLean studied Biology at UvA Amsterdam and is currently working on her Master research in Geomicrobiology at GFZ Helmholtz Center for Geosciences in Potsdam. During her studies, she developed a special interest for future ecologies and projects that try to cross borders between disciplinary styles and methods.
Together with UDK design student Charlotte Marabito, Nana created the concept for Youterus – a wearable, external womb. It questions our heterosocial picture of motherhood and explores possible alternatives to pregnancy – detached from biological sex or ageing of a person. With Youterus, she is collecting stories from the future, navigating in a possible society where pregnancy exists detached from the fertile female body.

Charlotte is an artist and designer working and studying at the University of Arts Berlin. Her interests lay in investigating cultural values and human experiences through the intersections of design, art and technologies. Together with biology student Nana MacLean, Charlotte created the concept for Youterus – a wearable, external womb. It questions our heterosocial picture of motherhood and explores possible alternatives to pregnancy. The baby grows inside an external uterus, which makes it possible to share the experience of motherhood – detached from biological sex or aging of a person. With Youterus, Charlotte is speculating a possible future of total reproductive autonomy and wants to address ethical issues which we will have to ask ourselves about sooner or later.