Art Installations Narrative/storytelling Play/Games

Bun in the Oven

"Bun in the Oven" is an interactive experience utilizing baking as a metaphor to engage participants in exploring the stress and anxiety women face regarding fertility and pregnancy challenges.


I-Jon Hsieh


Sharleen Smith


"Bun in the Oven" is a 10-15 minute interactive art project addressing the pressures and anxieties faced by women concerning fertility and pregnancy. Using a baking game as a metaphor for the various stages and challenges of pregnancy, participants engage in an accessible and thought-provoking experience that encourages reflection and conversation on the complex emotions surrounding fertility and childbearing. The project is a personal exploration of the challenges and heartbreaks associated with pregnancy, drawing from the creator's experiences and those of loved ones. By sharing these intimate moments and stories, "Bun in the Oven" aims to create a supportive and empathetic space for those who have faced similar challenges, fostering a sense of connection and understanding.


The project is informed by research exploring pregnancy milestones, the impact of age on pregnancy, and the emotional struggles faced by women during this phase of life. The pregnancy process typically lasts 38-40 weeks and is divided into three trimesters. Key milestones include heartbeat detection as early as week 6 and the fetus doubling in size by week 8. Screening tests, such as ultrasound and blood testing, can detect early signs of Down syndrome between weeks 10 and 14. Diagnostic tests like amniocentesis are conducted between weeks 15 and 20 to confirm any abnormalities. Gestational diabetes may develop after week 20, which can lead to high blood pressure, a larger baby, and potential complications like preeclampsia. Age is a significant factor in pregnancy success. Women delivering their first baby after 35 are considered advanced maternal age or elderly primigravida. As women age, the quality of their eggs declines, and pregnancy risks increase. These risks include preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, premature birth, low birth weight, expecting twins, miscarriage, Down syndrome, and other genetic disorders, as well as the likelihood of cesarean section or stillbirth.

Technical Details

The interactive installation is designed as a baking game, featuring a real toaster oven with the Pepper's ghost effect integrated inside. This, along with various game elements, guides participants through the process. The project is developed using Unity and an Arduino microcontroller, creating a comprehensive experience that reveals the metaphor behind the game. The visual theme combines the aesthetics of an operating room and an industrial kitchen, emphasizing the connection between the medical and baking aspects of the project.

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