Through artistic interventions into the computational backbone of maternity services, the artists behind the Body Recovery Unit explore data production and its usages in healthcare governance. Taking their artwork The National Catalogue Of Savings Opportunities. Maternity, Volume 1: London (2017) as a case study, they explore how artists working with ‘live’ computational culture might draw from critical theory, Science and Technology Studies as well as feminist strategies within arts-led enquiry. This paper examines the mechanisms through which maternal bodies are rendered visible or invisible to managerial scrutiny, by exploring the interlocking elements of commissioning structures, nationwide information standards and databases in tandem with everyday maternity healthcare practices on the wards in the UK. The work provides a new context to understand how re-prioritisation of ‘natural’ and ‘normal’ births, breastfeeding, skin-to-skin contact, age of conception and other factors are gaining momentum in sync with cost-reduction initiatives, funding cuts and privatisation of healthcare services.
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