Babypod intravaginal speaker, mp3 player, headphones

Music for Eggs, the first work developed for the research project Tech in Women, is a string quartet for human egg cells to be played to them on the Babypod, an intravaginal speaker designed for gestating fetuses. Babypod was developed based on the long-standing assumption that music, particularly Western classical music, stimulates children’s development. This belief has led to products such as albums for babies (e.g. Baby Beethoven), and more recently has been leveraged as the rationale for commercial technologies that play music to children before they are even born. 

Pregnancy speaker devices like Babypod have reinforced dominant narratives of who counts as a “good” mother and shifted them to earlier stages of childhood development. Music for Eggs, then, pushes the technology to its logical extreme, using it to play music to eggs which have not yet been fertilized. Commissioning a string quartet, an iconic classical medium, Livio closely collaborated with the to produce a piece she wants her eggs to hear. In doing so, she also considered women’s broader relatioship to the expectations of motherhood—as most or perhaps all of her eggs will die—and so pays reverence to those eggs which will never become fertilized.

Leslee Smucker (violin), Magee Capsouto (violin), Allyson Stibbards (viola), Cecilia Swanson (cello), JP Merz (composition)

  • Recipient of Eloise Timmons Memorial Award
  • Recipient of Beverly Sears Graduate Student Grant
  • A preliminary instantiation of this work was exhibited in the Embryonic exhibition at NEST, Colorado, September 21–December 21, 2018.