SCOBY, Shit and Humus (Vilnius)

We. 4. – 6. May 2019
MO Museum. Pylimo str. 17, Vilnius

Experimentation unfolds through the investigation of SCOBY, shit and humus, which raises questions: What does symbiosis really mean? How can we understand the complex interaction between microorganisms, plants and animals? How is self-organization related to being alive?

The participants will explore their own symbiotic relationship with organisms inside and outside themselves and try to grasp invisible creatures, surrounded by the outer worlds: air, water, animals, plants, and microorganisms. By using SCOBY – a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast – and soil as metaphors for the complex organization of microorganisms in the environment, the experimentation will reflect on the role of a single organisms in relation to their habitat.

Experiments will include the work around a toolkit “My collaboration with bacteria for paper production,” which gives an idea how to isolate Acetobacter bacteria. Microscopy and experiments around humus and soil will give an idea how each creature – plants, earthworms, insects, and fungi to invisible amoeba, nematodes, algae, and bacteria – provides their own essential role in the soil ecosystem. The third experiment includes the use of bitter-cress for the analysis of soil quality.

Participants will work on time-lapse photography, maps, and manuals. Active participation will end with a presentation featuring artifacts produced during the experimentation.

Mindaugas Gapševičius, Juan Pablo Diaz, Julian Chollet, and participants