From ultrasounds to the cyborg future of parenting and artificial wombs

UNBORN0X9 is an art installation and performance questioning the development of foetuses in artificial wombs outside of the body (ectogenesis) and the cyborg future of parenting. It explores the role of obstetric science in the increasingly technological experience of human reproduction, speculating on new types of bonding that may emerge with artificial wombs. Here, pregnancy is integrated into a high-tech vision of the body as a biological component of a cybernetic communication system.

Between years 2017-2020, workshops, software coding sessions, reading groups and performances were held which led to the following scenario on pregnancy typologies – (1) pro-life (2) pro-choice (3) forced by law (4) pro-sex (5) trans (6) refusal to believe (7) rejection of reproduction (8) unaware pregnancy (9) pseudocyesis (10) surrogacy (11) uterine transplantation (12) ectogenesis. Following the studies into pregnancy typologies, further research in ectogenesis and the topics of the “Cyborg Baby” advanced in the 1980s by philosopher Donna Haraway in the wake of her Cyborg Manifesto, artists contributing to this project formalised their collective work under the name ‘Future Baby Production’.

Ectogenesis, its first evocation is attributed to British biologist and geneticist John Haldane who developed the idea of a device that could enable extracorporeal pregnancy for mammals; the growth of an embryo and then foetus outside the body of a female organism, considered as a test tube baby fully developed in an out-of-the-body gestation, poses different ethical challenges: end of pregnancy but also the possible end of the privileged relationship between mother and child; complete equality of life between women/men/trans/non-binary; the nature of the emotional bonds for a child whose gestation took place in a machinic device; evolution of mores in a society where sexuality and reproduction are separated; transformation of the notions of maternity and paternity, of couple and of family; development of same-sex parenting; risk of a new form of commodification of the human body.

Ultrasound is a technology that originated in sonar detectors for submarine warfare and which was introduced in obstetric practice in the early 1960s. Showing to the outside something that was previously in the realm of the intimacy of women’s body ultrasound has embedded a biopolitical dimension. In the near-future context of artificial or transplanted uterus pregnancies, UNBORN0X9 aims to speculate on the possibility to create new types of bond with the child-to-be-born.

In collaboration with the echOpen fablab who engages in the development of open source and low cost echo-stethoscope with smartphone application, UNBORN0X9 forks the prototype of a professional tool and hacks the inaudible ultrasonic waves in a sonic conversion that allows the interpretation of an audiovisual and ultrasonic emotional score realised by an assemble of sound artists. As the visualization and sonification of ultrasound data prompts augmented interaction, the UNBORN0X9 performance envisions the orchestration of ultrasound frequencies to open new cyborg perspectives and new channels of communication.

Shu Lea Cheang is an artist and filmmaker working with various art mediums and film formats, including installation, performance, net art, public art, video installation, feature length film and mobile web serial. Her artistic pursuits demonstrates an imagination and desire to cross the boundaries of society, geography, politics, and economic structure, thus redefining genders, roles, mechanisms, etc. As a net art pioneer, her artwork BRANDON (1998-1999) was the first web art commissioned and collected by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York. From homesteading cyberspace in the 90s to her current retreat to post-netcrash BioNet zone, Cheang takes on viral love and bio hacking in her current cycle of works. She represented Taiwan with 3x3x6, a mixed media installation at Venice Biennale 2019. She is currently at work on UKI, a viral alt-reality cinema with a CNC/DICRéAM (France) development fund and a Guggenheim Fellowship (2020).


Future Baby Production

Future Baby Production is an initiative by Shu Lea Cheang and Ewen Chardronnet. In 2016, the two artists/authors were invited by echOpen of Hôtel-Dieu hospital in Paris to collaborate and contribute through artistic practice and skills to their open, collaborative fablab project with the aim of designing a functional low-cost and open source echo-stethoscope, a portable ultrasound device. This opportunity led to the UNBORN0X9, a hacking performance project. Soon a large team of interested artists, programmers, makers and cultural facilitators joined the initiative and started working on the various dimensions of the future baby scenario.

Taking a collective name, the Future Baby Production represents the common group efforts to raise issues such as the possible impact of low cost echo-stethoscopy on Global Health issues, questions of access to healthcare and motherhood, ectogenesis and the technicization of reproduction, and the back-and-forth between science-fiction imaginary and science in the making at large.

Founded in 2009, Art2M is a producer and distributor of digital artworks, publications, art events, training platforms, artistic and technological research. Art2M has launched two main sub-programs: the Makery Medialab and the Artjaws media art online market place.
Artjaws operates internationally and presents art works in art fairs and operates from two physical offices in Paris and New York.


Founded in 2014, Makery is a medialab focusing on creative communities & labs and Do-It-Yourself culture. It operates through Makery.info, an online English/French media platform; Medialab.makery.info, a research lab active in online mapping projects, training and inclusion programs in fablabs, conferences, artist residencies, exhibitions and the Open Source Body festival that questions how art, design and open science can improve access to healthcare.
Makery media platform aims to cover the dynamism and give out information on the creative communities and the scene of labs, fablabs (fabrication laboratories), makerspaces (for community tinkering), hackerspaces (spaces self-managed by people wanting to divert technologies), medialabs (dedicated to new media experimentation), living labs (also known as third places, they encompass users-industries co-design in processes of innovation and experimentation), biohacklabs (the scientific, DIYbio and bioinformatics version of hacklabs), artlabs (dedicated to artistic production).
The Makery medialab is the space for experimentation of the Makery media platform. It allows to gather, to give visibility and to publish innovative projects and actions of the media: events, media partnerships, forums, conferences; data-journalism web applications and software and hardware tools; residencies and exhibitions; trainings and workshops. The Makery Medialab is an active partner of the Feral Labs Network, the MakersXchange EU pilot policy program, and of the Fab City Global initiative. Makery is the leading partner of the ART4MED consortium, a cooperation program co-funded by the Creative Europe program of the European Union.



echOpen is an open and collaborative project and community, led by a multidisciplinary core of experts and senior professionals with the aim of designing a functional low-cost (affordable) and open source echo-stethoscope (ultrasound probe) connected to a smartphone, allowing the radical transformation of diagnostic orientation in hospitals, general medicine and medically underserved areas. This initiate is aimed for health professionals from southern and northern countries.

echOpen was born in late 2014 as a community project gathering people interested in m-health and e-health devices for the future of medicine all over the world.

Echo-stethoscopy is defined as the use of a universal ultra-portable ultrasound imaging or medical visualization tool, intended to accompany health professionals in clinical practice of diagnostic orientation, echo-stethoscopy is primarily aimed at physicians who have never take ultrasound images and who have taken a 48-hour training program to master the gesture and the concept.

For ages, medical doctors have tried to locate the causes of diseases through symptoms described by the patients using clinical examination technics.
To find the cause, they have to listen, touch and look at the patient but they often face a major obstacle: the body.
To bypass this barrier, a pioneering physician Laennec made the first successful attempt 200 years ago, inventing the well-known stethoscope –using the sense of hearing to explore organs more deeply. Modern medicine has since brought about bulky and expensive medical imaging devices as powerful tools for complementary examination.

Today using the sense of sight the increasingly low cost of electronic components and more open and collaborative frameworks bringing together communities are rendering these tools more accessible and affordable. This ultrasound lens enables doctors and medical practitioners to immediately explore patients’ bodies during clinical examination.


UrsuLaB is an artistic laboratory that is interested in the major topic of our time, the living and the ecologies and thus integrates the life sciences and technologies to a process of democratization. The transdisciplinary framework of the developed projects are taking a new look at our world, by particularly in the face of the current ecological crisis. Currently the number of artists who adopt biotechnology as a medium is in increasing number. However, unlike to the majority of neighbouring countries, it does not exist in France no dedicated place to this type of practices.
For all information, meetings, collaborations, projects : ursulab{at}antrepeaux{dot}net


© Labomedia

Since its creation in 1999, La Labomedia (Orleans, France), has been developing a diversity of actions and projects dedicated to the appropriation and critic of digital technologies. The aim is to bring together the right conditions to enable and empower everyone in becoming an actor in this mutating world, while respecting divergence, as well as the natural world.

Through our weekly “Open workshops”, anyone is invited to share his/her knowledge, passions or curiosity, in a Fablab environment (Laboratory of Fabrication ), where tools and competences are available to support the realisation of individual and collective projects. Every month, we also organise an exchange time or meeting, through a conference, round table, discussion, or projection, on a societal theme linked to technology. We also have more technical workshops on a monthly basis, where we look  at a specific practice or tool in-depth, in order to better equip our participants.

Convinced that the arts and digital cultures help in building a sense of community while questioning society and developing positive futurs, we also support artists’s creations and showcase their work to a variety of public.

Finally, we participate and contribute to research and development in the ever expanding field of digital technologies, at a national and international level, focussing on digital freedom, the uses of libre / open source softwares, as well as exploring the relationship between art/science and new economical forms of participations, which lead to experimentations and productions, usable through libre / open licences.

https://labomedia.org/ – lalabomedia@labomedia.org

thr34d5 is a design studio fostering social inclusion. Thr34d5 conducts design research supporting auto-determination through crafts and open source. As such, they design open processes, objects, installations, architectures, educational programs, always asking themselves the question : how to live in the era of the Anthropocene and how to design multi-generational, multicultural, trans-species societies ? Not just based on age, social origin, or gender, thr34d5 focuses on the production and transmission of design methodologies based on synchronicities and trans-species communities rhythms. Thr34d5 practices a milieux design, a community-oriented design. Thr34d5 is a medialab for social resilience.