All content © 2010 Royal College of Art
As a female designer I had one big problem I wanted to solve. "It’s 2010, so why are humans still menstruating?"
The pill free, bleeding interval was devised when the contraceptive pill first came out, only because it was felt by doctors that women would find having no periods too unacceptable (Since 1960s, taking the pill continuously could have removed periods all together!) The doctors may think that women are attached to their periods, but only humans, apes and bats out of all mammals need to bleed monthly for their reproductive cycle. What does Menstruation mean to humans? Who might choose to have it, and how might they have it?
Fitted with a blood dispensing mechanism and lower-abdomen-stimulating electrodes, the Menstruation Machine is a device which simulates the pain and bleeding of an average 5 day menstruation process of a human (As a female designer I have done my best to simulate my own, at least).
The machine is not worn only by men, but also by women when menstruation may become obsolete in future and the biological process has become a mere ritual of identity. I'm not suggesting when or by whom this machine would be used - after much discussion with women and scientists in Reproductive Science I have decided that the psychologies which people associate with menstruation (failure to conceive, puberty, sexuality, spirituality) are too complex for the use for Menstruation Machine to be determined. The music video below illustrates just one example of many possibilities.
Menstruation Machine - Takashi's Take is a music video about a boy ‘Takashi’, who builds the menstruation machine in an attempt to dress up as a female, biologically as well as aesthetically, to fulfill his desire to understand what it might feel like to be a truely 'girly' girl. He determinedly wears the machine to hang out with his kawaii friend in Tokyo, but…
Product Design: Naoki Kawamoto
Photography: Rai Royal
Set Design: Sam Frances
Make Up: Kanta Mukasa
Video Production: AUG5, Inc., Director: Yasuhito Tsuge
Sound Production: DJ Codomo
Stylist: Shoko Sei
Fashion: galaxxxy, MANIAC WORKS, chimaniamu, Emma Lundgren, Amakiru, Grace Du Prez, Anna Schwamborn
Research Guidance: Prof. Jan Brosens, Imperial College London, Department of Medicine
Shoot Studio: Bullet's Nishiazabu