"The Optimization of Parenthood" is a robot arm which reacts whenever a baby placed in the bassinet cries or awakes from sleep. Developed by Addie Wagenknecht of NORTD Labs as a "speed project" during a one-week residency at the STUDIO for Creative Inquiry at Carnegie Mellon University.
Mothers are often expected to be full time parents. This is sometimes due to lack of options, the cost of childcare or the lack of family support. As a result, the mother often loses the very creative practice she has spent an entire life building. Being a stay at home parent without help is literally like having four full time jobs in a row, all the time, without weekends or evenings off. And yet, if a women was to spend 24 hours a day doing anything else, all the time, without stopping, people would think she was insane. Parenting, for whatever reason, is exempt from this insanity.
In order to optimize as much of the routine tedious monotony of parenthood as possible and make it an option for all women to have both her creative work and children we must optimize the process of parenting. The automatic repetitive task can be transferred to other devices, without affecting 'the development of the baby'. This frees the mother to do their creative work without having to factor or budget for the high cost of childcare or feel she is pigeonholed into the role because it is simply 'a women's nature'.
Developed with support from the STUDIO for Creative Inquiry at Carnegie Mellon University
Created at the Digital Fabrication Laboratory (dFab), CMU School of Architecture
Technical Assistants: Madeline Gannon
Video and Images by Jonathan Minard (@deepspeedmedia)