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Invisible You

Human Microbiome exhibition opens at the Eden Project
Biodome Picture from MyGreenPod Sustainable News

The Eden Project, supported by the Wellcome Trust, has today launched a new permanent exhibition entitled ‘Invisible You. The Human Microbiome,’ with accompanying programmes of live science events, web and formal education.

Eden has previously explored all kinds of ecosystems but until now, one has been missing – the invisible community of the body.

A landmark exhibition

Human Microbiome is the phrase used to refer to the community of microbes, comprising bacteria, fungi and viruses that live on and in every one of us.

‘These trillions of microbes outnumber our cells ten to one and, in the main, work together to keep us healthy – whether it’s the bacteria in the gut helping to digest our food or the microbes on our skin working to keep it soft. This fascinating new exhibition is one of the most compelling and important we have ever staged.’

Jo Elworthy, Eden’s Interpretation Director

For the exhibition, Eden has commissioned 11 artists to create new exhibits that explore the unfolding story of the human microbiome.

‘We are really excited about the diversity of work that has been put together. We have fabulous collaborations between artists and scientists, and will be presenting an amazing collection of new artworks. You may even be able to see what your microbiome looks like, with your own belly-button portrait.’

Jo Elworthy, Eden’s Interpretation Director

Exhibiting artists

Exhibits include paper sculptures by Rogan Brown and a Bellybutton Portrait Series, by Joana Ricou, which will invite the viewer to consider their ‘other selves’ and to reflect on their connection to the world.

Victoria Shennan and composer Jack Hurst, from the Royal College of Music, will collaborate to create a sound installation piece that translates bacteria rDNA sequences into sound to illustrate the rhythms of nature that underpin our existence.

In collaboration with choreographer Jules Laville, Bill Wroath will facilitate a large community dance project that explores how bacteria communicate, leading to the making of a dance film.

Rebecca D. Harris will be creating an embroidered textile hanging that represents the microbial communities of our body and will highlight the changes to the microbiome during pregnancy. Rachel made the news recently after a picture of her work, which depicts a naked pregnant woman, was rejected by Facebook for violating their guidelines.

‘The huge impact that the human microbiome has on health is becoming clearer and clearer. Invisible You is a fantastic project that will allow the Eden Project’s large public audience access to the science and research behind our understanding of our own internal ecosystem, through the medium of art.

‘The Wellcome Trust has a long history of supporting high quality collaborations that help artists, scientists and the public to engage with complex issues that affect human health, and we’re delighted to be able to help bring a topic this compelling to a venue as unique as the Eden Project – we can’t wait to see it.’

Tom Anthony, National Programmes Adviser at the Wellcome Trust

RSA Student Design Awards

In association with the exhibition, Eden has set a design brief for this year’s RSA Student Design Awards.

The brief, entitled Human by Nature, asks students to design a means of encouraging people to take care of their microbiome. The winner will have their work displayed as part of the exhibition and awarded an internship with the in-house design team.

The exhibition, which launches 22 May, 2015, will be in Eden’s education centre, the Core. A family-focused programme of activities, ‘Strange Science’, will follow during May half-term (May 22-31).

The exhibition and programme of events is supported by a multi-disciplinary advisory group made up of scientists, industry specialists and creatives from universities and research institutions across the world as well as an internal project team.

Click here to find out more about the Eden Project and to see what’s going on.

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