Baby Builder

A playful exploration of genetic modification

Background

The Baby Builder is an interactive installation in which you can design your own child through genetic modification. Prevent nasty genetic diseases, increase intelligence and while you’re at it, make your child extra social and empathetic right away. And how about modifying the skin tone or the sexual preferences? Some people might like this speculative scenario, others might not. Whatever your point of view may be, the Baby Builder challenges the audience to confront the ethical, societal and moral questions raised by the development of genetic modification. Is this a future you want and where do you draw the line?

Date

2019

Status

Completed

Client

Self-initiated

Partners

Erasmus Medical Center
UMC Utrecht
Utrecht University

Development
Timon Nap

Design
Björn van Ginkel

Exhibitions

Dutch Design Week 2020
Dutch Design Week 2021
Museum de Fundatie
Ars Electronica
Springplank
International Documentary Film Festival
Imagine Film Festival

“The Baby Builder has made me aware of the importance of public debate on genetic modification and all its ethical challenges. I never thought I would genetically modify my child, but in the end I did.”

Joska Sesink – visitor

“The Baby Builder has made me aware of the importance of public debate on genetic modification and all its ethical challenges. I never thought I would genetically modify my child, but in the end I did.”

Joska Sesink – visitor

Research of data

The data that we provide facilitate researchers and scientists in gaining fresh perspectives on the societal viewpoint regarding genetic modification and the associated decision-making. The primary objective is to collect opinions and incorporate these in the development of genetic modification. Below are three example figures based on the data of five exhibitions (N=973). The data of visitors who stated that they didn’t want to share their results or that they would’ve made other decisions in real life (e.g., they used the Baby Builder as if it were a game), have been filtered out (1.722 in total).

Photography: Roy te Lintelo, Edwin Smits

Research of data

The data that we provide facilitate researchers and scientists in gaining fresh perspectives on the societal viewpoint regarding genetic modification and the associated decision-making. The primary objective is to collect opinions and incorporate these in the development of genetic modification. Below are three example figures based on the data of five exhibitions (N=973). The data of visitors who stated that they didn’t want to share their results or that they would’ve made other decisions in real life (e.g., they used the Baby Builder as if it were a game), have been filtered out (1.722 in total).

Photography: Roy te Lintelo, Edwin Smits

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