Disobedient Psychobiotics

Disobedient Psychobiotics Klaus Spiess* & Lucie Strecker** The consumer lifestyle is addictive to both man and his microbes. An annual 60-billion-dollar market exploits the addicted microbes by replacing them with industrial psychobiotics, said to affect emotions and lifestyle (1). To…

Disobedient Psychobiotics

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Disobedient Psychobiotics

Klaus Spiess* & Lucie Strecker**

The consumer lifestyle is addictive to both man and his microbes. An annual 60-billion-dollar market exploits the addicted microbes by replacing them with industrial psychobiotics, said to affect emotions and lifestyle (1).

To avoid this vicious circle of abuse and in order to protect the microbes’ symbiosis with humans, in a series of projects we are launching markets for “disobedient psychobiotics” that differentiate between the seductive power of goods and the basic necessities of microbial life.

During the international symposium “Microperformativity for Radical Economic Transformation” at the University of Applied Arts/Medical University/Brut Vienna *** ten lecturers passed a keyword to the performer Oleg Soulimenko.

We understood the saliva of the performer as missing link between the semantic and phonetic meaning of the keyword (2) and both as prerequisite for his speech and nourishment for his microbes.

The performer repeated the keywords’ phonemes until, through the altered flow of his saliva, the acidity in his mouth slightly changed (3) and made the microbes receptive for the subsequent experiment we used to trigger their memory.
A rotating Petri dish was inoculated with the saliva. A special agar jelly allowed only the psychobiotic strain Saccharomyces boulardii to grow.

Then we invited the audience to use its voice spectrograms to rhythmically activate pumps, which added commercial pheromones to microbes growing in three bioreactors, but did not add a mate. By the decreased membrane bulges of the microbes we traced how the microbes adapted their reproduction. They now remembered the difference between a fake product – the industrial pheromone – and a real subject – the mate (4).

Finally we moulded these epigenetically informed microbes into a suppository and the artists themselves inserted the suppository in order to auction off these psychobiotics with memory at its new commercial breeding ground.

The lecturers, the salivary donors, the artists, the auction winners now all spontaneously started to claim and discuss ownership rights on the word- and saliva based psychobiotic microbes growing in the recipients’ gut.

In our projects, we develop disobedient psychobiotics with embodied speech in order to better protect the human-microbe symbiosis. We apply the new psychobiotics to provoke a public dialogue on the dignity of any living being which has to be calculated on the commercial markets.

References

(1) Amar Sarkar et al: Psychobiotics and the Manipulation of Bacteria-Gut-Brain-Signals. Trends Neurosci. 2016 Nov; 39(11): 763–781.
(2) Ikegami, Takashi & Zlatev, Jordan 2007. From non-representational cognition to language. In Ziemke, Zlatev & Frank (eds.), pp. 241–283. Berlin: Mouton.
(3) Gilchrist, J. C., & Furchtgott, E. Salivary pH as a psycho-physiological variable. Psychological Bulletin, 1951: 48(3), 193-210.
(4) Caudron F, Barral Y: Mnemons: encoding memory by protein super-assembly.
Microb Cell, 2014: 1(3): 100–102.

*Klaus Spiess, Arts and Science Program, Center of Public Health, Medical University Vienna
**Lucie Strecker, Department Arts&Science, University of Applied Arts, Vienna

*** Curated by Lucie Strecker, Klaus Spiess and Jens Hauser

Klaus Spiess, Arts and Science Program, Center of Public Health, Medical University Vienna
Lucie Strecker, Department Arts&Science, University of Applied Arts, Vienna

Credits:

Performance:
Oleg Soulimenko

Keyword Donors:

Ingeborg Reichle, Chris Salter, Hans-Jörg Rheinberger, Victoria Vesna, Elisabeth Bakambamba Tambwe, Paul Vanouse, Irini Athanassakis, David Berry, Daniel Aschwanden, Krööt Jurak, David Bailey, Eben Kirksey

Media Artists: Joseph Knierzinger, Jürgen Ropp, Peter Koger

Web Performance: Ann Liv Young

Production Management: Johannes Maile, Guadalupe Aldrete

Cell Biology: Mark Rinnnerthaler, Regina Sommer, Lukas Schartel, Amrito Geiser
Biotechnology: Johannes Seiwerth

Partner in Dialogue: Philippe Riera, Janez Janša

Camera: Christian Haas, Tatia Skhirtladze, David le Viseur, Anna Lerchbaumer
Editing: Christian Haas

Thanks to Jens Hauser

A cooperation between the Wiener Gruppe für biomediale Performance, brut Wien, Muffatwerk Munich, the Angewandte Innovation Laboratory AIL and the Medical University Vienna. With the kind support of the Austrian Science Fund (FWF): V501 and Cultural Department of the City of Vienna (MA 7).

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