Thursday, February 04, 2016

François-Joseph Lapointe: 1000 Handshakes at transmediale/conversation piece 2016

For his most recent artistic project, Lapointe is sequencing his microbiome to produce metagenomic selfportraits, Microbiome Selfies, which illustrate the metamorphosis of his bacterial self. The performance 1000 handshakes is part of this project. During the performance Lapointe shook hands with people passing through the opening night of the transmediale festival, gradually changing the invisible microbial community in the palm of his hand. Periodically, assistants took a sample from his skin. The DNA of this microbiome will be analysed to reveal how our contact with others shapes the microbes between us, how it changes who we are. The performance raises awareness through physical and social engagement, through acts of participation and exchange on social, individual and microbial levels. The handshake, a basic and ancient act of networking forms the beginning of a social, scientific and artistic collaboration between the performer and the public. The data collected during this performance will be used to generate microbiome selfies, shown in the exhibition The Other Selves. On the Phenomenon of the Microbiome at Art Laboratory Berlin (opening 26 Feb, 2016).

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