Installation, 2011

Ai Hasegawa (JP)

Humans are genetically predisposed to raise children as a way of passing on their genes to the next generation. For some, the struggle to raise a child in decent conditions is becoming harder due to gross overpopulation and an increasingly strained global environment.

This project approaches the problem of human reproduction in an age of overcrowding, overdevelopment and environmental crisis. With potential food shortages and a population of nearly seven billion people, would a woman consider incubating and giving birth to an endangered species such as a shark, tuna or dolphin? This project introduces the argument for giving birth to our food to satisfy our demands for nutrition and childbirth, and discusses some of the technical details of how this might be possible.

Would raising this animal as a child change its value so drastically that we would be unable to consume it because it would be imbued with the love of motherhood? The Maui’s dolphin has been chosen as the ideal ‘baby’ for this piece. It is one of the world’s rarest and smallest dolphins, classified critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation’s Red List of Threatened Species (version 2.3) because of the side effects of fishing activity by humans, its size (which closely matches the size of a human baby), and its high intelligence level and communication abilities.

I Wanna Deliver a Dolphin… imagines a point in the future, where humans will help this species by the advanced technology of synthetic biology. A ‘dolp-human placenta’ that allows a human female to deliver a dolphin is created, and thus humans can become a surrogate mother to endangered species. Furthermore, gourmets would be able to enjoy the luxury of eating a rare animal: an animal made by their own body, raising questions of the ownership of rare animal life, and life itself.

Artist's Statement

This project is about growing your own food in your uterus with the help of synthetic biology technology. Humans always take from nature, but this time they try to donate their reproductive resources. This could be seen as win-win relationship, since the animal embryo held in the woman’s uterus also consoles the woman’s unsatisfied reproduction desire if, for example, the woman believes that having more human babies is not ethically sound, given the overpopulation of the earth. Also, they might be able to eat this expensive delicacy after the end of these rare animals’ natural lives. On the other hand, if they release them to nature, they will be investing in the future food supply. This point, however, will give rise to the same issues as the release of GM life forms into the wild.