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"Ashram is the place I call home, for it nourishes you and gives you the strength to face the unexpected and the extraordinary: An AshramMommies pregnancy experience."

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Pic: The Agency

AshramMommies deals with the myths of motherhood and family by introducing a counter figure: the surrogate mother.

The start-up company AshramMommies invites you to the "Investors Lounge": In the coworking space WeWork, the company presents itself to the public and its investors. Founder Dr. Radika Nair tells the story of the company's founding.

AshramMommies makes a decisive twist and turns the inequalities of the global surrogacy market upside down: instead of Indian women carrying the children of Western parents at cheapest prices, AshramMommies offers pregnancy as a consequence-free experience for Western European women* while enjoying a nine month ashram residency in India - and henceforth carrying and delivering a child as a charity experience for Indian commissioning parents. While milk beverages are handed out to the investors, the German SurroMaa Alexandra Lärche presents the latest photographs of the ashram under construction. As a finale and highlight of the event, the investors meet face-to-face with the first successfully pregnant white surrogate mother from AshramMommies and together they celebrate an Indian-inspired baby shower.

THE AGENCY is interested in surrogacy as an ambivalent phenomenon: Is the surrogate mother predestined to mark reproductive labor as such? Why do we still pursue the dream of a genetically related child? And what does the figure of the child mean in these apocalyptic times?

A production by THE AGENCY and Goethe Institute Bangalore within bangaloREsidency, hosted by Sandbox Collective.

thanks to

Dr. Nayna Patel (Akanksha Clinic), Gita Aravamudan and Amrita Pande. 


by and with 

Deepika Arwind, Magdalena Emmerig,Yana Thönnes

supported by

Nimi Ravindran, Charlotte Rauth, Shiva Pathak, Moira Heuer, Shruti Rao

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P1030868_Ashramommies_c_Charlotte Rauth.


The performance “AshramMommies” by THE AGENCY was created during the bangaloREsidency at the Goethe Institute Max Mueller Bhavan Bangalore and links the research on commercial surrogacy and western spiritual tourism to India.

Within the bangaloREsidency, supported by Sandbox Collective, Magdalena Emmerig and Yana Thönnes from THE AGENCY mainly dealt with the topic of commercial surrogacy through the Indian market, which until recently was hardly regulated. As a result, India (until approx. 2015) mainly attracted international and western couples to hire a surrogate mother to carry their offspring at a quarter of the price in comparison to the usual price in California, for example. Based on the employment relationships of the surrogate mothers, the concerns of the “commissioning parents” and the strategies of the clinics, global inequalities and reproductive hierarchies are reproduced along class, caste, race and gender - and are sometimes turned upside down: Our research led us into Fertility clinics (whose offerings range from IVF treatment to stem cell storage to vagina tightening), to Egg Donor Banks (whose profiles look like those on online dating apps) and to surrogate homes where surrogate mothers are accommodated while they work for the entire period of their pregnancy and can be medically monitored.


Part of the series DESIRES

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