(  w O mb  )




Part of "Precarious Circumstances"

group exhibition with the QM&A Artist Collective




I am human. I am lost.

Since we were born, since we left the womb of our mothers, we feel naked and defenceless.

We built encompassing incubators: houses, cities, civilizations, immune systems,

borders between you - my microbial ancestors - and me.



Maaijke Middelbeek, SCOBY,  artificial womb, post-humanist, becoming with


Baby SCOBY (Symbiotic Cultures Of Bacteria & Yeast) in Artificial Womb - detail

Fermenting cultures of bacteria & yeast, making more

acrylic glass womb




Bacteria merged to create humans cells. They are what we grew from. They date back almost 4 billion years, while we, homo sapiens, emerged only yesterday on earth’s scale, about 300.000 years ago. Some of those ancient microbes still guide us today. They are on and in and around us. 



Maaijke Middelbeek, SCOBY, Other-Mother, post-anthropocene, post-humanist, interspecies care


SCOBY biofilms in glass with embalming fluid

February 2022


"My womb" is a symbol of connection. The fantastic apparatus allows me to make contact- and fuse with my other-than-human kin. It helps to rehabilitate a bond to those that were at the very beginning of life. No other human experience comes close to the symbiotic state of connection to another being than growing a child within the safe borders of your own body. But then it is "my artificial womb". It is a technically induced, externalized intimacy. My bodily fluids mingle with the symbiotic mothercultures of the bacteria and yeast. I inhale the vapors and steams of this process of life. We care for each other, we contaminate each other. We communicate, although there is this "artifact", through this artifact, the artificial, the cultured, we become with eachother. 


Video of: Precarious Circumstances

Question Me & Answer Artist Collective 2021


Shot & edited by Miloš Vučićević. 

my artificial w O mb

a posthuman birth

a birth out of fermentation,


& interspecies care

Maaijke Middelbeek, SCOBY, artificial womb


Acrylic glass womb on metall foot, Baby SCOBY & amniotic fluid

Funnel with dried SCOBY cellulose

Tubes with mother's milk





Mother Culture under skin

sundried leather from symbiotic cultures of bacteria & yeast,

text, lightbox














SCOBY Mother Cultures

Symbiotic Cultures Of Bacteria & Yeast


In the front SCOBY in glass, in the back SCOBY incubator

see also video above