testing ground for art & ecology
8 October 2016 – 16 October 2016


The microbial paradigm shift

Sonja Bäumel

In collaboration with Birgit Nemec, Cocky Eek, Hauke Smidt

We, humans, have recently come to understanding that we have twice as many bacterial cells than human cells, living both in and on our bodies. Besides this abstract knowledge, what does this mean for our self-recognition, for our concepts of autonomy and for the borders of our self? If fifty percent of the cells that constitute our body are not human but microbial, how could we get in touch with our nonhuman co-habitants?
Fifty Percent Human creates an in-between space, addressing uncertainties, ambiguities and imagination linked to the microbial paradigm shift both on an aesthetic and on an epistemological level. The project’s installation presents a damp environment, filled thick with enlarged transparent and liquid membrane-bound microbial cells, collectively swimming, lying or floating – an intersecting multi-species landscape to explore. Is it possible that we may sense a language to encounter with non-verbal organisms through touch? To experience and thus better understand inter-organismic communication means taking care of the microcosm and thus ultimately means taking care of ourselves.


Opening: Saturday, 8th of Oct at 14:00 – 18:00