Patrimony of Gestures (2018-2022) was a series of exercises in writing, ceramics and listening that consider the idea of ‘reproductive work’ beyond its theorisation as domestic labour, foregrounding instead myriad forms of communication and political practice, including poetry and art. Like Monument to Networks of Mutual Aid, the project addressed the lack of spaces dedicated to a memory of queer and antiracist care work. The project began during an artistic research residency at Casa Velazquez in Madrid in 2018, during which time I collaborated with an archeobotanist. Archeobotanists study plant evidence preserved through processes like carbonisation, water logging or through having been impressed onto the surface of ceramics. When archeobotanists approximate a ceramic surface at an archaeological site, for example, they are looking for chemical traces of certain plants or the indentations of certain cooking tools. From this they reconstruct a ‘patrimony of gestures’: a speculative restoration of the physical and embodied gestures of past peoples as they lived on and worked with the land.
My use of the term ‘patrimony of gestures’ in the project’s title is, in the first place, a marker of the interdisciplinary setting in which this and many artistic research projects are developed. My decision to transport the term from a historical science context to an artistic creation context is also conceptually significant, as it expresses the project’s wider investment in the possibilities of connecting the methods and value structures of the historical research sciences at the service of the social present. Patrimony of Gestures involved many actions dispersed over time, including performances, readings, posters and an audio installation produced with many collaborators. I will focus on the first two actions, entitled The Assisted Reproduction of the Voice and Networks of Care and Critique, which were exhibited together at Casa Velazquez in 2019.
I was interested in researching assisted reproductive technologies (ARTs) at Casa Velazquez, because it is a French cultural institution located in Spain, which provided an opportunity to think about the different politics of access to ARTs in Europe: while in Spain LGBTQIA+ access to ARTs is funded on the public health system, in France at the time of the exhibition in 2019, it was banned. ARTs consist of procedures that involve the in vitro handling or cryopreservation of human oocytes, sperm or embryos and constitute a booming global market, projected to reach $45.06 billion USD by 2026. Like other issues that bear on and mark out an individual reproductive body, such as abortion, reproductive technologies have long occupied a dominant space in feminist discussions of reproductive politics, often at the expense of other reproductive politics issues, such as commercial toxicity, the lack of access to healthcare or the challenges of social reproduction in contexts of exclusion and scarcity.
I developed The Assisted Reproduction of the Voice as a series of four audio recordings, displayed below an installation of scaled down screen grabs from television and films in which queer characters engage with ARTs or fertility clinics. In the audio work I recount the details relating to the institutional, legislative and commercial forces that in the 1990s and early 2000s gave rise to the ART clinic of today. However, I mention neither ‘fertility’ nor ‘biological reproduction’, and speak only of ‘the assisted reproduction of the voice’. The quality, rhythm, volume and tone of my voice shifts as I address four different audiences: the public, a class of students, a parent and a lover. I was interested in considering audience as a ‘technology of assisted reproduction’ that inscribes the materiality and surface of the voice.
The Assisted Reproduction of the Voice installation excerpted a number of scenes in which characters are shown waiting in fertility clinic waiting rooms, which I sourced from a range of films that feature the themes of fertility and assisted reproduction, the earliest being Test Tube Baby (dir. W. Merle Connell, 1948). I focused however on more recent films that feature queer characters including Seeking Dolly Parton (dir. Michael Worth; 2015); She Hate Me (dir. Spike Lee; 2004); Chutney Popcorn (dir. Nisha Ganatra; 1999); L Word (dir. Ilene Chaiken, 2004–2009); If These Walls Could Talk 2 (dir. Jane Anderson, Anne Heche, Martha Coolidge; 2000), noticing how the plots unfolded through the repeated gesture of waiting. Even where the fertility clinic waiting room was not featured, the characters were often featured waiting somewhere else: kitchens, living rooms, parks, parties, the street. I thought of Faith Wilding’s 1974 poem and performance Waiting, in which the speaker’s life is re-cast as a litany of waiting scenes; ‘Waiting for someone to feed me, Waiting for someone to change my diaper…Waiting to go to a party, to be asked to dance, to dance close…Waiting for my children to come home from school Waiting for them to grow up, to leave home…Waiting for my flesh to sag Waiting for my breasts to shrivel up’. Wilding’s poem offers just such a possible critical patrimony of gestures, in which the gesture of waiting reveals something about the labour of femininity.
Broadly, these films and shows respond to the gradual incorporation of ARTs into human reproduction throughout the twentieth century. Where this meeting of technology and reproduction could have enabled a break in the connection between human biological reproduction and heteronormative social reproduction, the legal and cultural codification of ARTs has rather tended towards the reification of the nuclear family. The dominant narrative of lesbian and gay ART use also tends to leave normative gender structures and kinship arrangements in tact. In particular, the plots of these films and shows map perfectly atop long ingrained codifications of womxn’s bodies as passive sites awaiting medical intervention.
These are just fictional narratives, though, films showing fictional characters played by actors. They are just representations. Yet following STS insights into the role of acts of the imagination in patterning bioscientific value production, such representations might better be approached as a scientific text: a diagram of the various cycles of laboratory practice and expedition that accumulate to make the clinic infrastructure appear inevitable. Kaushik Sunder Rajan (2006), building on the work of Sarah Franklin and Margaret Lock (2003), argues that the biosciences are unique in the history of capitalist production because biotech firms are overwhelmingly engaged in promissory hype: marketing activities designed to fashion future investors, buyers and customers for their drugs and services. In the age of personalised medicine, where big-pharma meets genetic testing, the risk-preventation logic reigns and clinics and companies become occupied with fashioning consumers, what Rajan calls biocapital's ‘patients-in-waiting’. 
While Rajan focuses on the intersection of genomics and drug development, the author's explanation of how the creation of particular bio-products is tied to the fabrication of particular medicalised subjectivities –the patient-in-waiting– is relevent to the world of reproductive technologies too. For Melinda Cooper and Catherine Waldby (2014), who study the global business of stem cell research as it intersects with the assisted reproductive technology industry, the key phenomena is not the marketing activites of companies, but rather the experiences of the industry's most precarious workers. Their study sketches a political economy of what they call the experimental regenerative and reproductive 'bioeconomic labour' performed by the people who actually donate the living tissue needed for stem-cell research or the gametes needed for assisted reproduction procedures. In the context of Spain, which provides over 40% of all eggs donated in Europe (a phenomenon that has been linked to the forms of precarious work emerging after the 2008 financial crisis) this approach to egg donation as risk-laden and poorly remunerated reproductive labour is key.
Following these STS perspectives, I might reframe my question as not ‘how are ARTs represented in fiction’ but how a fictional representation of ARTs is manufactured through many stages of scientific, cultural and political-economic inscription. In the age of pharmacogenomics, regenerative medicine and reproductive technologies, the gesture of waiting comes to embody not only the individual experience of waiting (to be pregnant, to have a child, to be cured etc.) but the many cycles of collective experimental labour that have accumulated over time to produce both the scientific know-how and the desire to consume a particular bio-product or reproductive technology. Following Cooper and Waldby’s study of bioeconomic reproductive labour, we might revise Rajan’s figure of the ‘patient-in-waiting’ as a particular kind of worker, whose queerness is, as these films suggest, quite well represented in Hollywood cinema and TV. Is waiting, which Wilding analysed in 1974 as a form of feminised labour, now, under biocapital, queer work too?
Might the repeated scene featuring a queer patient-in-waiting reflect the wider privatisation of queer life under capital? How does this reconcile with a context, such as France, where scarcity was imposed on queer biological reproduction through prohibiting LGBTQIA+ access to reproductive technologies? By excerpting the ‘waiting queer’ in the context of a French cultural institution, I intended to mobilise an ambivalence around queer use of ARTs and invest the gesture of waiting with a spectral double meaning. Firstly, the waiting queer points to the fabrication of the medicalised subjectivity of the patient-in-waiting under biocapital as discussed above. Secondly excerpting these images in the French institution could be seen to protest the pending status of LGBTQIA+ access to ARTs in France. A combined STS, Queer Marxist and Artistic Research practice promises this possibility of mobilising ambivalence as a way of knowing.
Networks of Care=Critique, a ceramic piece, was displayed opposite the audio work. The project began with a series of listening sessions: I would sit down with friends and people whose work I admire and we would discuss the forms of care –intellectual, emotional or physical– that have been important over our lifespan. They would then arrange the information on a genealogical-style diagram divided into decades or years and I would make a ceramic plaque of the diagram, which belonged to that person. The project provided a counter-inscription that imagines queer reproductive labour beyond the figure of biocapital's patient-in-waiting.
This need to consider forms of value production that are not only capitalist has been central to Queer Marxist scholarship. In Queer Value (2012), Meg Wesling studies drag work in the documentary film Mariposas en el Andamio (1996), concluding that two kinds of value are produced: firstly, as paid entertainment labour, drag work reproduces the wage and secondly, as self-actualising and gender critical work, it retains 'the possibility of contesting the alienation characteristic of the wage-labour system' producing 'queer value' underscored by experiences of 'comfort and desire'.  Queer Marxist scholars have paid close attention to both the forms of labour undertaken by LGBTQIA+ people historically, and, as Nat Raha writes, the 'forms of cultural production that materialise when queer and trans people work for capital and for eachother'.  Networks of Care=Critique approached the development of counter-inscriptions of queer reproductive work through remembering experiences of political implication and pleasure: the erotic gestures of reading, sex, party, protest, solitude and connection.
I presented the ceramic works as components in the 2019 exhibition and later talked about them in many different institutional or independent art spaces. The exercise was linked to the context of LGBTQIA+ daily life in Barcelona and I made the plaques with people I know well, who are active in transfeminist and antiracist organising, involved in queer parenting or who are artists. Many collaborators remain anonymous, as do their ceramic plaques. As I amassed the plaques though I began to observe how their monumental aspirations contradicted the transient pleasures of the exercise itself, rooted in listening. Around this time I decided to write up the exercise as an open-source creative coding drawing software program, transforming the exercise into an accessible ‘general’ program, which means the logic of the project may be accessed, repeated and used by anyone, anywhere in the world. The program was first exhibited in “The Love Ethic”, an exhibition of creative code projects that use p5.js, curated by Katie Chaan.
Networks of Care=Critique engages with the three lineages of gesture that I discussed earlier: it inscribes a memory of the different forms of bodily gestures involved in the maintenance of queer life; the project has a ‘plastic’ life of its own, unfolding across different registers, first as a conversation, then ceramic plaque, exhibition and piece of drawing software; finally, it affirms the epistemic character of the artistic gesture to the extent that at each stage the project sought to generate connections between participants, creating ‘a bridge between the sharers’. Following Audre Lorde, this ‘remembering what is shared’ also serves to build a critique of ‘what is not shared’: the ways that listening, reading, care, sexuality and memory become expropriated, privatized, devalued and commodified under capital.
 The collaborating archeobotanist was Jerome Ros, and this collaboration was a set condition of the residency, funded by Hangar Centre for Art and Technology.
 See: Paul Preciado, ‘Politically Assisted Procreation and State Heterosexualism’ South Atlantic Quarterly 115(2): pp. 405-410. (2016)
 See: https://www.fortunebusinessinsights.com/industry-reports/assisted-reproductive-technology-art-market-101811
 See: Faith Wilding, Waiting (1974) http://faithwilding.refugia.net/waitingpoem.pdf
 Kaushik Sunder Rajan, Biocapital: The Constitution of Postgenomic Life, (Durham: Duke University Press, 2006) p. 175
 Melinda Cooper and Catherine Waldby, Clinical Labor: Tissue Donors and Research Subjects in the Global Bioeconomy (Durham: Duke University Press, 2014), p. 115.
 Meg Wesling, 'Queer Value', GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies (Vol. 18 Nu.1) p. 122
 Natalia Raha, Queer Capital: Marxism in queer theory and post-1950 poetics. Doctoral thesis (PhD), University of Sussex, (2019). p.8
Including: “Carrying Histories” curated by Syowia Kyambe at Praksis Oslo; CADSR residency Merida, Mexico; as part of the talk: ‘Historia(as) de enfermedad y cuidados’,