Investigating a Gestational Care Facility: An Ethnographic Exploration of Bio-technological Possibilities through a Retro-speculative Lens

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PechaKucha Presentation:

This story outlines the use of a fictional ethnography to delve into the theme of human-technology interface, with assisted reproduction as its focus. Drawing from my ethnographic experiences around reproductive technologies and clinical spaces at large, the narrative imagines a world where technologies that assist in processes of conception and birthing have become increasingly inventive as well as readily available. The story, drawing on both existing as well as retrospeculative techniques, studies, and theoretical concepts, explores the notion of a child-to-be as symbolic of the idea of birthing futures. The speculative ethnography of a clinical facility centered around assisted reproduction, in an alternative present, dives into the ‘promissory’ role played by reproductive technologies and substances, while questioning normative notions of ‘desired futures’. With its focus on technological innovations and their relationship to ever-evolving socio-cultural norms and values, this narrative addresses the theme of anticipation through the lens of technological speculation, possible socio-ethical dilemmas, and desirable familial futures. It also brings to the fore themes and issues evident in our reality, by presenting extreme-case scenarios that highlight the discourses around them. The use of fiction and ethnography allows room for provocations, while providing a space to create an imagined setting, which aids in addressing multiple thematics simultaneously

Keywords: Assisted Reproductive Technologies, Retrospeculation, Speculative Ethnography, Technological Speculation, Clinical Spaces

Oshin Siao Bhatt is an independent researcher from New Delhi, India with a background in Sociology, Social Anthropology and Design Research. She has worked with organizations across the spaces of design, development and academia on topics like citizen engagement, sexual and reproductive health, reproductive technologies, healthcare, women’s rights, etc. She is currently enrolled in a Master Program at the Critical Inquiry Lab at Design Academy Eindhoven and is interested in exploring the interconnections between design, the social sciences and biotechnology.

Citation: 2021 EPIC Proceedings p 347, ISSN 1559-8918,

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