How much control should we be able to exert on an unborn child—or on the body carrying an unborn child? To what extent should we be able to intervene in the reproductive process? These questions are central to this new work by American multimedia artist Lauren Lee McCarthy, who in 2017 won the IDFA DocLab Immersive Non-Fiction Award for Lauren, in which she was a human version of the virtual assistant Alexa.
In this combination of interactive performance, film, and installation, the starting point is McCarthy's desire to serve as a surrogate for a parent who has complete control over her body via an app. They can monitor and operate all aspects of her life: when and what she eats, her physical condition, her weight, and her sleep quality.
Through a conversation with her grandmother, McCarthy also shows how our ideas about reproduction and birth have changed in just a few generations, and how complex it can become when formerly intuitive processes such as reproduction and parenthood are subjected to far-reaching ideas about physical engineering.