[ISEA2023] Panel: Cristin Millett, Ionat Zurr, Maro Pebo & Cynthia White — Nourishing and Nurturing: Placentas, Incubators, and the Politics of Life Ex-Vivo

Panel Statement

Theme Robots – Expanded Corporalities Sub Theme  Symbiotic Imaginaries

Keywords: placenta, reproduction, artificial womb, incubator, ectogenesis, reproductive rights, ex-vivo, ex-utero, body politic, trans-species

“Nourishing and Nurturing: Placentas, Incubators, and the Politics of Life Ex-Vivo” is a panel comprised of four differing perspec-tives on the placenta and its changing role in the future of human reproduction. Metaphorically, incubators are surrogate wombs in-tended to nourish and nurture life ex-vivo. In the not-to-distant im-agined future, artificial wombs may provide a supportive environ-ment for human gestation, ectogenesis. These are specific symbi-otic imaginaries about the placenta. How and why invent new ones? What will happen to the placenta when pregnancy is entirely mechanized, ex-utero? How can the cultural and biological histories about the placenta inform reproductive futures? And what be-comes of gendered reproduction and ‘mothering’ in this alternative narrative? Each presentation will probe themes on the symbiotic and/or parasitic relationships between mother and fetus as well as humans and non-humans. The talks will include ongoing artistic research on incubators and the placenta, and prompt questions about the socio-cultural impact of ectogenesis and the body politic.

  • As a transdisciplinary artist, Cristin Millett’s investigations of medicine are integral to her process. Her work prompts a critique of societal issues surrounding reproduction and gender identity. Millett is a Professor of Art at the Pennsylvania State University and was a 2020 Fulbright Senior Scholar at SymbioticA at the University of Western Australia. https://www.cristin-millett.com
  • Ionat Zurr, Assoc. Prof. School of Design, The University of Western Australia https://tcaproject.net
  • Mariana Perez Bobadilla (Maro Pebo), Mexico. Bioartist. PhD Creative Media. http://maropebo.com
  • Cynthia White, Adjunct Research Assoc., Arts and Design Research Incubator, The Pennsylvania State University, USA. https://sites.psu.edu/cynthiawhite