GynePunk 3D printed speculum thumbnail 1
Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Design 1900 to Now, Room 76

GynePunk 3D printed speculum

3D-Printed Speculum
2019 (Printed)
Artist/Maker
Place of origin

The GynePunk speculum was designed in 2015 by artists and activists, Klau Chinche (GynePunk), Urs Gaudenz (GaudiLabs) and Paula Pin Lage (bioTRANSlab, and formerly of GynePunk). This digital project is an example of speculative and critical design and aims to highlight barriers to access to healthcare for the most marginalised in society, specifically sex workers, migrants and transgender persons.

The speculum was created for Chinche (also known as Klau Kinki) and Lage by Urs Gaudenz for the autonomous research project and online resource, GynePunk. GynePunk is described by its founder, Klau Chinche as a 'riot of bodies' and was formerly based in PECHBLENDA lab at Calafou, a community in a large former industrial space, which describes itself as a ‘postcapitalist ecoindustrial colony’ (source: Makery 2017). GynePunk aims to make accessible Do-It-Yourself (DIY) lab diagnosis tools and examinations for reproductive and sexual health for marginalised communities and for self-diagnosis. GynePunk investigates the history of gynaecology, combined with an active and radical proposal to re-write it. GynePunk aims to empower those who are regularly discriminated against by traditional medical systems that often act as gatekeepers to information and services. The GynePunk project can be viewed as a subversive political act, and although led by Klau Chinche, the values and methods are intended to be used by communities that need them.

In 2015, inspired by Chinche’s use of the speculum in her work to empower people with vaginas to undertake their own cervical smears and pelvic examinations, Gaudenz (collaborating with Lage as part of Hackteria, while simultaneously collaborating with Chinche) decided to gift Gynepunk an object that would benefit their project. This led to the creation of the 3D-printed speculum. It was to be included in the GynePunk laboratory toolkit - which at the time also included a biohacking kit containing a centrifuge, incubator, and microscope for self-testing and diagnosing cervical cancer, yeast infection, pregnancy, and sexually transmitted infections (STIs). The speculum (though technically functioning as a speculum in terms of being designed with all constituent parts and operating with a hinge to open and close once printed) was created as a speculative and critical tool with which to highlight the barriers that communities face when aiming to access gynaecological healthcare during Chinche and Lage’s workshops. The speculum was also used by both Lage and Chinche as a ‘learning tool’ as over the course of their workshops within bioTRANSlab and GynePunk, alongside other plastic speculums (such as those traditionally used in a medical environment) for physical use in self-exams - such as for DIY swab tests to identify early signs of cervical cancer.

For the GynePunk speculum, Gaudenz created the modelled files in Solidworks from existing specula, though the files had to be adjusted by designer bolwerK as they were deemed too small in the initial design to act functionally. Gaudenz and Lage did not intend to improve upon or augment the design of the common speculum, nor their own GynePunk version, as the object itself was seen as a tool of education and a ‘provocation’. The 3D speculum file was uploaded to Thingiverse, an open access website for open-source 3D-printed object files, by Gaudenz and Lage to allow for the device to be accessible to other communities.

The 3D-printed speculum is printed in dyed green Polyethylene terephthalate glycol – PETG – a food-safe plastic often used to create plastic bottles and food packaging (PET), with added glycol for enhanced flexibility. The choice of PETG for 3D printing is preferred to PET (without glycol) as it allows for more flexibility, and with greater impact resistance and tolerance. A 3D-printed speculum in its printed support material, also in PETG, will also be acquired to demonstrate the technical and physical process of 3D printing. The support material acts as a scaffold during printing to provide support as each new layer is printed, as it is otherwise not possible to successfully print new layers. Support material is typically removed after printing.

Gynepunk aims to make tools and information around reproductive healthcare available to all, and the GynePunk 3D-printed speculum furthers the right for people to have autonomy over their own bodies. This extends to individuals and communities who are willing to empower themselves with knowledge, or to those who need information for emergency examinations when access to reproductive health services may not be available, such as with undocumented migrants.

In a manner similar to the Liberator, designed by Defense Distributed (CD.40-2014, CD.1:1 to 16-2013), the GynePunk speculum represents the idea of political freedom through the means of design - even if speculative. The gun reveals a concern with freedom through Libertarian politics, whilst the speculum represents an opposing political ideology, where freedom is expressed through an inclusive intersectional feminism.

Both objects illustrate a process of online circulation of design. In the case of the speculum, digital STL files, which are often favoured in 3D-printing communities because of their size, make it very easy to disseminate design instructions outside of mainstream medicine. Through the internet, the digital designs for both the gun and the speculum provide access to objects or practices that are restricted to certain systems and people in societies, often through the protection of state law. It should be noted that increased accessibility via the internet, does not however ensure inclusivity for all. In order to print the design, not only does someone need access to the internet, but they also need access to 3D-printing materials and equipment, with knowledge of how to use them, in order to achieve a safe and usable tool.

This project comes to the museum through the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation funded project Content/Data/Object. Over the course of four years, Communities Research Fellow Anouska Samms conducted research into the object as part of her work investigation into how museums can broaden access to digital works through the incorporation of community voices and narratives. As part of this research fellowship, Samms suggested the acquisition into the permanent collection.
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Object details
Categories
Object type
Materials and techniques
The method of additive manufacturing of 3D printing plastic in layers creates small ridges across the surface of the speculum, as the plastic is added one layer at a time. The plastic used is extruded plastic, or Polyethylene terephthalate glycol (PETG).
Brief description
GynePunk speculum, designed by Urs Gaudenz (GaudiLabs), Paula Pin Lage (BioTRANSlab), and Klau Chinche, also known as Klau Kinki or Klau Kinky (GynePunk), 2015. Printed by Paula Pin Lage, 2019.
Physical description
Neon lime green speculum, with black locking mechanism.
Dimensions
  • Height: 13.5cm (Approximately)
  • Length: 12cm (Approximately)
Style
Production typesmall batch
Gallery label
What 3D printing makes possible Created by GynePunk and GaudiLabs, the 3D-printed speculum is an object of access and empowerment for people who feel the healthcare system doesn’t serve their needs, including queer communities, migrants and sex workers. This downloadable medical tool brings into discussion what a speculum is, how it is used and by whom. 3D-printed speculum 2015 Designed by BioTRANSlab, GaudiLabs and GynePunk Printed by Paula Pin Lage, Spain PET plastic Museum no. CD.20-2020(17/06/2021)
Credit line
Klau Kinche, Paula Pin Lage and Urs Gaudenz.
Summary
The GynePunk speculum was designed in 2015 by artists and activists, Klau Chinche (GynePunk), Urs Gaudenz (GaudiLabs) and Paula Pin Lage (bioTRANSlab, and formerly of GynePunk). This digital project is an example of speculative and critical design and aims to highlight barriers to access to healthcare for the most marginalised in society, specifically sex workers, migrants and transgender persons.



The speculum was created for Chinche (also known as Klau Kinki) and Lage by Urs Gaudenz for the autonomous research project and online resource, GynePunk. GynePunk is described by its founder, Klau Chinche as a 'riot of bodies' and was formerly based in PECHBLENDA lab at Calafou, a community in a large former industrial space, which describes itself as a ‘postcapitalist ecoindustrial colony’ (source: Makery 2017). GynePunk aims to make accessible Do-It-Yourself (DIY) lab diagnosis tools and examinations for reproductive and sexual health for marginalised communities and for self-diagnosis. GynePunk investigates the history of gynaecology, combined with an active and radical proposal to re-write it. GynePunk aims to empower those who are regularly discriminated against by traditional medical systems that often act as gatekeepers to information and services. The GynePunk project can be viewed as a subversive political act, and although led by Klau Chinche, the values and methods are intended to be used by communities that need them.



In 2015, inspired by Chinche’s use of the speculum in her work to empower people with vaginas to undertake their own cervical smears and pelvic examinations, Gaudenz (collaborating with Lage as part of Hackteria, while simultaneously collaborating with Chinche) decided to gift Gynepunk an object that would benefit their project. This led to the creation of the 3D-printed speculum. It was to be included in the GynePunk laboratory toolkit - which at the time also included a biohacking kit containing a centrifuge, incubator, and microscope for self-testing and diagnosing cervical cancer, yeast infection, pregnancy, and sexually transmitted infections (STIs). The speculum (though technically functioning as a speculum in terms of being designed with all constituent parts and operating with a hinge to open and close once printed) was created as a speculative and critical tool with which to highlight the barriers that communities face when aiming to access gynaecological healthcare during Chinche and Lage’s workshops. The speculum was also used by both Lage and Chinche as a ‘learning tool’ as over the course of their workshops within bioTRANSlab and GynePunk, alongside other plastic speculums (such as those traditionally used in a medical environment) for physical use in self-exams - such as for DIY swab tests to identify early signs of cervical cancer.



For the GynePunk speculum, Gaudenz created the modelled files in Solidworks from existing specula, though the files had to be adjusted by designer bolwerK as they were deemed too small in the initial design to act functionally. Gaudenz and Lage did not intend to improve upon or augment the design of the common speculum, nor their own GynePunk version, as the object itself was seen as a tool of education and a ‘provocation’. The 3D speculum file was uploaded to Thingiverse, an open access website for open-source 3D-printed object files, by Gaudenz and Lage to allow for the device to be accessible to other communities.



The 3D-printed speculum is printed in dyed green Polyethylene terephthalate glycol – PETG – a food-safe plastic often used to create plastic bottles and food packaging (PET), with added glycol for enhanced flexibility. The choice of PETG for 3D printing is preferred to PET (without glycol) as it allows for more flexibility, and with greater impact resistance and tolerance. A 3D-printed speculum in its printed support material, also in PETG, will also be acquired to demonstrate the technical and physical process of 3D printing. The support material acts as a scaffold during printing to provide support as each new layer is printed, as it is otherwise not possible to successfully print new layers. Support material is typically removed after printing.



Gynepunk aims to make tools and information around reproductive healthcare available to all, and the GynePunk 3D-printed speculum furthers the right for people to have autonomy over their own bodies. This extends to individuals and communities who are willing to empower themselves with knowledge, or to those who need information for emergency examinations when access to reproductive health services may not be available, such as with undocumented migrants.



In a manner similar to the Liberator, designed by Defense Distributed (CD.40-2014, CD.1:1 to 16-2013), the GynePunk speculum represents the idea of political freedom through the means of design - even if speculative. The gun reveals a concern with freedom through Libertarian politics, whilst the speculum represents an opposing political ideology, where freedom is expressed through an inclusive intersectional feminism.



Both objects illustrate a process of online circulation of design. In the case of the speculum, digital STL files, which are often favoured in 3D-printing communities because of their size, make it very easy to disseminate design instructions outside of mainstream medicine. Through the internet, the digital designs for both the gun and the speculum provide access to objects or practices that are restricted to certain systems and people in societies, often through the protection of state law. It should be noted that increased accessibility via the internet, does not however ensure inclusivity for all. In order to print the design, not only does someone need access to the internet, but they also need access to 3D-printing materials and equipment, with knowledge of how to use them, in order to achieve a safe and usable tool.



This project comes to the museum through the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation funded project Content/Data/Object. Over the course of four years, Communities Research Fellow Anouska Samms conducted research into the object as part of her work investigation into how museums can broaden access to digital works through the incorporation of community voices and narratives. As part of this research fellowship, Samms suggested the acquisition into the permanent collection.
Collection
Accession number
CD.20-2020

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Record createdMarch 27, 2020
Record URL
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