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STARTS residency: Sissel Marie Tonn with The Sentinel Immune Self

ABSTRACT

THE CHALLENGE

Challenge 9 called for a reflection on safeguarding sustainability and inclusiveness in the complexity of communities and populations (from proteins to natural and human ecosystems), exploring the ability to interact intelligently and repair themselves in transformative processes induced by external factors (such as viruses, contaminants, new species, artificial elements).

The aim of the challenge is to interpret, predict and represent the trajectories of transformation, sustainability and resilience of micro and macro systems challenged by external agents, considering new forms of coexistence, including natural/artificial coexistence, and how these can lead to new forms of inclusiveness.

All this, using digital languages to render the speculative process.

THE PROJECT: “THE SENTINEL IMMUNE SELF”

With her project The Sentinel Immune Self, artist Sissel Marie Tonn encourages us to reconfigure the concept of individuality, to see it from the perspective of interconnectedness, showing the interdependence that characterises our microbial system. She also shows how environmental contaminants are a shared concern among all sentinels.

The work is inspired by the dynamics of human cells interacting and co-evolving with microbes and external agents, such as germs and microplastics. Together with experts in microbial metagenomics and immunology, Sissel wants to implement algorithms and machine learning systems that will lead to the creation of an immersive and interactive installation.

The installation will be animated by The Sentinel Immune Self, an abstract avatar that will create an environment of shapes and movements based on metagenomic models of the microbiome and artificial simulations of the immune system. Viewers will be able to identify with The Sentinel and influence the story through sensory input of autonomous signals, such as heartbeats, and it is these signals that will reinforce a more intuitive understanding of themselves.

THE ARTIST: SISSEL MARIE TONN

Sissel Marie Tonn is a Danish artist living and working in The Hague (NL). She graduated in Film and Media Studies at the University of Copenhagen and completed a Masters in Artistic Research at the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague.

In his artistic production, he explores how human beings perceive, act and are related to their environment. Her works revolve around moments of awareness and perceptual shifts, in which the boundary between our body and the environment becomes increasingly blurred. These moments are translated both into hybrid, interactive installations and into objects that tell stories and data, with which you are invited to interact on a sensory and participatory level.

The artist sees his work as a gymnasium, which aims to question not only our ordinary modes of perception, but also our capacity for attention and our perception of ourselves. In this way, she highlights the ability of our biological composition and cultural conditions to influence our perception and, consequently, how we relate to our surroundings.

Her awards include the Theodora Niemeijer prize for emerging female artists, the BAD Award and an honorary mention for her work The Intimate Earthquake Archive.

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