Shareable Biome

photo credit: Alex Nathanson and Sharon Koeblinger

This is an ongoing series of data visualizations and a lecture performance which explores the geographic and cultural implementation/reception of fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) — a radical life-saving probiotic procedure. The re-contextualization of fecal matter (a waste people have always left behind) as a life giving medicine is a beautiful example of the transmutation of waste into value through alchemy, a practice which we hope will eventually help us disappear all types of waste. People have developed a tendency to view poop as gross and all bacteria as harmful. Microbial diversity has been dangerously declining both in humans and the environment at large. “Culture” refers both to bacterial colonies as well as human collective truth. The latest research shows that our microbiome cultures greatly influence our thoughts and feelings while our human culture greatly impacts the health of our microbiome. With a particular interest in the role sharing communities play in building microbial diversity artist Misha Rabinovich and I created a series of hand drawn, computer generated, and grown (with bacteria) visualizations based on data from the non-profit bacterial research lab OpenBiome.

Sphinctegraphs and preliminary models for sphincteral planters:

Sphinctegraphs (Bacteria ecologies of 24 FMT donors)

Microbiome Meditation:

Microbiome Meditation from Caitlin Foley on Vimeo.

Shareable Biome Drawings rendered by Caitlin Foley:

Shareable Biome Info Graphics rendered by Misha Rabinovich:

Shareable Biome Bacterial Expressions: