11expandedselfprocesssonjabaeumel.jpgVienna, Austria, 2012.
Vienna, Austria, 2012.
living painting 2012

expanded self

Expanded Self visualizes the invisible surface of the human body in a unique way. A gigantic petri dish is used as canvas and the bacteria living on an individual body as colour. The living, life-size painting develops and speaks a diction combining art and science.

After the application of the invisible bacteria colour to the body, in high density and by taking risks, the body is imprinted on agar, the nutritive substance for bacteria, which is first filled into a huge petri dish (210cm x 80cm). After a few days, a living landscape has started growing there. It consists of a unique mixture of life forms on one human body in a specific district of Vienna and on a specific day. This project seeks to highlight the existing invisible microbial entanglement in order to understand and to explore new forms of trans-species communication.

Expanded Self, the living and growing picture of a body, was photographed and documented on the seventh day of growth. This imprint of a human body is a kind of metaphor for new perspectives on our person. All of us are so much more than we think we are. If we merge the genetic material of all our co-habitants, it will comprise ten times more information than our own DNA. We are only beginning to understand how this astonishing community of different life forms works on us and allows us to work as equals.

Expanded Self was realized for the documentary film ' Wir sind Planeten', produced by ServusTV-Terra Mater.
Sonja Bäumel
Erich Schopf