Ministry of Love
Thesis Tutor: Chaw Chih Wen
In the posthuman, the thesis postulates that the state gains leverage over childbirth with genetic engineering and genes become an object of political agenda. The editing of genes offers the prospects of the posthuman baby—the baby genetically modified in hopes to eliminate disease.
As an endeavour by the Singapore government, the Ministry of Love
specialises in the genetic engineering of babies, accompanied by subset ministries of supporting programmes to compensate any downstream implications from growing the baby outside of the body. Conveniently at a time when Singapore is dealing with a rapidly ageing population, editing genes in the name of health aligns childbirth with national interest. The thesis explores a spatial paradigm that responds to an efficient and seemingly perfect form of child bearing institutionalized by the state.
A Seamless Process
The home-based saliva collection kit is all you need to send your DNA to the lab for sequencing. The value of genetic data infiltrates into everyday life, becoming a determining factor even in matters such as who you match on dating apps.
In fulfilment of the national agenda, the state adopts a decentralised model to encourage citizens to have their sperm and eggs retrieved at polyclinics, facilitating a wider reach to the masses. The sperm and eggs are stored at the cryobank facility at the Ministry of Love and when a couple is ready to have a child, their best egg will be fertilised with their best sperm.
Pre-testing is carried out on fertilised embryo and results will be sent to the parents-to-be to choose the genes they wish to edit in eliminating disease.
Pulau Brani started off as a fishing village. When it was redeveloped in 1993 as a container port terminal, its natural coastline was straightened to better serve its function. The Ministry of Love would be sited on Pulau Brani as it anticipates new changes as part of the Greater Southern Waterfront. The new masterplan, as a way of doctoring nature, has manicured its coastline on one side of the island while retaining its straightened edge on the other.
The spiral acts as the operating system for the production line of babies that expresses the idea of a continuous cycle. The babies move along the track, aligning with complementary spaces specific to the point in their growth. To ensure its efficiency, additional programmes are added to perfect the imperfections of the system, which are absorbed into the pureness of the ring. This new form of childbearing accounts for different milestones that takes place on each turn of the spiral.
An austere exterior, the ring form wraps around the hill on the island with a curtain wall glazing.
In hopes of encouraging earlier childbearing, individuals are matched according to their biological compatibility for a date.
The Cryobank Service Centre helps couples map out their use of resources that are in storage. The cryobank’s organization system is informed by genes, and each person’s vial of sperm or egg is sorted via pneumatic tubes. Also, couples have an option for sterilisation after storing their sperms and eggs in the cryobank as sexual intercourse is no longer necessary for reproduction.
The outer layer of the ring is designed for staff operations. They play a role in the monitoring and maintenance of the machine crucial to the baby’s growth. Each day marks a consistent 160 babies to achieve the optimal replacement rate. A continuous flow of amniotic fluid is piped, and the baby is hooked up to an oxygenator that acts as an artificial heart that pumps blood through the umbilical cord and then back.
To compensate for the absence of the physical attachment between parent and child, visitation activities allow parents to spend quality time with their baby in incubation. These activities are designed on the inner layer of the ring.