Karenina van den Crommenacker

Love Ourself: Me Myself and my Microbiome

Karenina van den Crommenacker, bio artist and visual researcher, is intrigued by all that the nonhuman world has to offer. To learn about the ingenuity of other organisms and whole ecosystems is incredibly fascinating to her. Working in the lab with living microbes during The BioHack Academy, made her dream come true.

With her final project, she elaborates on the work BIO-ID LAB she created in collaboration with Pim Boreel. In this previous installation, the human microbiome is presented as a new form of identification. Where that study was about differentiating between individuals, this study is more intimate and questions who you are as an individual. Our microbiome, the microbial ecosystem in and on our body, is vital to the well-being of body and mind. We are so intertwined with our microbiome that without it we wouldn’t exist. Can we still see ourselves as individuals, considering this multi-species symbiosis? Are we our microbes? Are our microbes us? What does it mean to love yourself, when you are a multi-species being? As an act of self-love, Karenina asks participants to kiss themselves. By cultivating these kisses, she visualizes the intimate connection we have with our microbiome.

Final project Biohack Academy 2022

BioHack Academy Documentation