In seeking what makes humans unique, we have paradoxically revealed a continuity with the nonhuman: indeed, we are made up of nearly 50% microbial cells. Vital for our metabolism, this microbiota also influences an unexpected part of us: our personality and our mood. Highlighting this multispecies’ nature of ours, this eleven-day time-lapse was created in a Petri dish using only photographic film and microorganisms. In a unique interspecies co-creation, these microorganisms interacted with the pigments in the film: by painting their presence on the portraits, they reshaped human boundaries to reveal our hybrid state, both human and microbial, macro and micro, individual and ecosystem.
Güneş-Hélène Işitan is a Canadian artist-researcher in biomedia arts. Her hybrid practice, at the intersection of art, biology, philosophy, and new media, challenges what it means to be human by revealing the interdependency relations and co-becoming fates from which we and our world emerge. Isitan holds a graduate diploma in Actual Artistic Practices and Microbiology and is considered to be one of the first Canadian artists to take an interest in the human microbiota. She presents her works in individual and group exhibitions, both in Canada and abroad, and participated in several conferences and artist residencies.