Body of Us is the Swiss contribution to this year’s London Design Biennale to take place at the Somerset House in September. Body of Us turns a microscope on the bacterial traces that we all leave behind, and explores whether new forms of social relationship can create a more ethical society. The project consists of an installation, a vast petri dish containing bacteria from the room and the people who have visited it. The petri dish is a symbol, a way to show that we are intrinsically related to the beings and matter that surround us, and to rethink what constitutes us as human beings. It is a means to make visitors rethink their own relationships, and the motivations behind them. The work proposes that we expand our search for friendly bonds – given the environmental challenges we face, perhaps even beyond humankind.

The micro-scale investigation of bodies and space is interwoven with an audio work that comprises a series of short poetic, scientific and essayistic excerpts, drawing connections between the bacteria and the broader topic of friendship reimagined. A publication, which is available in the space and on the project’s website, further explores the diversity of friendship and its potential to offer up new ways to live, work and connect.

Critical Media Lab Basel’s Bernhard Garnicnig and Jamie Allen, at the invitation of the curator Rebekka Kiesewetter and through the experimental publishing collective continent. were responsible for developing the accompanying newspaper-format publication. It includes contributions from Bruce A Barber, Sara Fournier Krugman, Mari Keski-Korsu, Christopher DeWeese, Kuba Ryniewicz, Heather Christie, Ross Adams, Ethel Baraona Pohl, and Cesar Reyes Najera.

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