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My name is Dani Nikitenko.
As a designer I work on projects towards empowerment.


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Person in a bathroom with all Objects of the Set „Beside Blood - Cycle exploration“

beside blood

cycle exploration

»Beside Blood - Cycle Exploration« is a project for menstruating people in reaction to the social tabooing. Caused by this taboo, knowledge about the cycle is limited and even those who are menstruating, rarely speak about it even when there are acute problems. This fact determines the social discourse and is relevant for the rights menstruating persons claim in society.

In the seventies, feminists in the USA built the first women's health centers. They discussed the cycle, contraception and abortion but also examined themselves. The exchange and the sharing of knowledge helped them to rebel against the social taboo and to stand up for sexual self-determination. They also got a new position towards doctors and learned more about what the gynaecologists practised on them.

My project aims to empower menstruating people to explore cycle-related changes of their bodies alone in an atmosphere that they choose and in which they feel comfortable. For this purpose I developed several tools and a little booklet with informations. Each one deals with one aspect of the cycle: the changes in cervix, basal body temperature, cervical fluids, breast and menorrhea. My intention here was to break with existing images and to provide a different approach to self-exploration.

For many people, self-examination is a barrier because of the social taboo. My design aims to minimize these barriers. The Self-Speculum for example is designed in contrast to classical medical specula, since these can trigger anxiety already by their appearance. Furthermore, its unpracticed use can lead to violations, such as vaginal wall incarceration. By using valuable materials and aesthetically shaped objects, the tools become attractive accessories that could be laid bare in the bathroom.

In the current project status those tools are 3D printed prototypes. In production, porcelain would be my first choice material since it tolerates lubricants of any kind, based on water, oil and silicone. It has a high mechanical strength and is also hypoallergenic, easy to clean and even dishwasher safe. It can also be warmed in water, since a lot of people find the inserting of cold objects particularly unpleasant.

Person with Selfspeculum
Illustration of a Selfspeculum

Self-Speculum

This Self-Speculum is made to observe the changes of shape and position of the cervix without the help from others. The object consists of a body to insert (a) and a movable mirror with a light (b). The end of the object is slightly rounded and oblique for easier insertion.

Person with a cervical spoon
Illustration of a cervical spoon

Cervical Spoon

The fluid produced by the cervical glands can be white, cream, milky or crystal clear. The spinnability and consistency can provide information about fertility. The PH value of the secretion can indicate diseases. The cervical spoon is a round stick with a small hole in which the cervical fluid can be collected.

Person with a Mentrual bowl
Illustration of a menstrual bowl

Menstrual Bowl

The menstrual bowl is made to look at menorrhea. Menstruating persons lose varying amounts of menstrual blood. The blood can have different colours. It ranges from light red to dark brown. Sometimes it contains small clots

Person with a Thermometer
Illustration of a thermometer

Thermometer

The basal temperature changes during the cycle. In the first half of the cycle it is usually slightly lower than in the second half. Knowing about the personal basal temperature can be useful for practising natural contraception.

Person with a breast measuring Tape
Illustration of a breast measuring tape

Breast Measuring Tape

During the cycle the size of your breasts may change. The measuring tape can help you to register this change and to identify more quickly if there is a risky transformation in your breasts.

My name is Dani Nikitenko [she/her].

I’m based in Berlin and graduated from Burg Giebichenstein with a master's degree in Industrial Design. As a designer I try to provoke new perspectives and question the current status quo. Especially digital and biotechnological transformations open up new challenges as well as new options in the field of design. Self-empowerment in the context of bodies is one focus of my work.

At the moment I am researching on the topic of »women’s health movement« and give presentations on my current project »Besides Blood – cycle exploration«.

If you are interested in a collaboration, lectures or an exchange over a cup of coffee, do not hesitate to contact me. If you want to know more about my projects, feel welcome to subscribe to my newsletter.

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