Jenna Sutela. Holobiont

»Holobiont« is a Greek composite: »hólos« - everything, overall, »bios« - live and »óntos« -beings. They are considered as multipartite ecological entities as it is a merge of several organisms of different species to a super organism. The word goes back to the US biologist Lynn Margulis, that showed that more complex cells, for example human cells have their origin in the fusion of simpler organisms.

Sutela suggests in her video the idea of a possible unit of many kinds, all in one, an inextricably linked ecology and evolution at a planetary and even cosmic scale. Her odyssey begins in the gut and zooms up in outer space. She met scientists who are engaged in extremophiles bacteria. These organisms can survive in conditions, that are regarded as hostile. Possibly they will transport life to other stars. At ESA Sutela filmed their research on natto bacteria Bacillus subtilis which ferments soya.

Sutelas science fiction picks up on the current debate about so-called interspecies symbioses and speculates on future mutations and developments of life.

Jenna Sutela (F) works with words, sounds, and other living materials. Her audiovisual pieces, sculptures, and performances seek to identify and react to precarious social and material moments, often in relation to technology. She is based in Berlin and Helsinki. Her work has been presented at museums and art contexts internationally, including Guggenheim Bilbao, Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo, and Serpentine Galleries. Currently she is a Visiting Artist at The MIT Center for Art, Science & Technology (CAST).

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Event Venue

Hessisches Landesmuseum Darmstadt
Galerie der Kunst nach 1945
Friedensplatz 1
64283 Darmstadt



Dr. Gabriele Mackert
T 06151 1657-012

Running Time

September 3 until September 29 2019

Gallery Talk

Thursday, September 5, 4 pm
with Dr. Gabriele Mackert