If we consider gestation as a collective form of labour what could it mean for how we imagine architecture? We might start with proposals for “kitchenless” urbanism created by utopian feminists. For example, American urban historian and poet Dolores Hayden argues that kitchens imprison human beings, particularly women and children, in the private sphere. Or we could consider the uncannily birth-like and anti-kitchen architecture of Alice in Wonderland (as illustrated by John Tenniel in 1865) as a clue to how communal food preparation and feeding—kitchenlessness—might transform and de-privatize “the gestational workplace” at different scales, including the uterus, the nuclear household, the surrogacy clinic/dormitory, and the Earth.
Sophie Lewis is a feminist theorist, cultural critic and utopianist, and the author of Full Surrogacy Now: Feminism Against Family (2019) as well as articles and essays including, My Octopus Girlfriend (n+1) and How British Feminism Became Anti-Trans (The New York Times). Though she left academia in 2017 she is currently a Visiting scholar at The Alice Paul Center for Research on Gender, Sexuality and Women at the University of Pennsylvania, and she teaches courses online (open to all) at the Brooklyn Institute for Social Research.