Holobiont

2020

Embroidery with old fishing net and monofilament yarn

Citizen Earth exhibition

Hanoi Museum of Biology

​​A holobiont is an assemblage of a host and the many other species living in or around it, which together form a discrete ecological unit. Well-studied Holobionts include coral reefs, soil and human.

 

Scientists start to gather more evidence showing that the microbiome can affect the blood-brain barrier, which controls what comes in and out of the brain. Gut microbiota also can influence the production of  80% serotonin - one of the main chemicals that control our mood.

According to holobiont theory, the brain-derived neurotrophic factor which is important for learning, memory and high-order thinking is also influenced by microflora. Does it mean our characters, behaviours, and even my fate are rooted in these microorganisms living on and inside me? There is also a chance that the human five senses are dependent on the types of microbiota that stay on our skin, in our oral and nasal cavities. Vaginal microfloral plays a major role in the physical and mental health of our children.

 

The Covid-19 pandemic shows us the power of just one microspecies. The number of microbiota inside us is 10 times more than our cells, so imagine how much power they have over us. Are they the owner of our bodies?

In this project, I reassume the power of those almost invisible communities living in and around us. All three soft sculptures are made with human waste - fishnet collected in Sam Son, Vietnam - to remind viewers what we are doing with our own health. Our lives would change based on the environment that those organisms live in, meaning the air we breath, the water we drink, the food we eat and also the soil that nourishes our food.