(IN)VISIBLE MEMBRANE
Sonja Bäumel

In order to learn more about the lives of bacteria, I had the opportunity to complete a microbiological internship at the Wageningen University in the Netherlands. After having been introduced to the basics of microbiology, I started to experiment with skin bacteria and, at a later point, their reaction to textiles.

Since 2008, in the course of my thesis project at the Design Academy Eindhoven : (In)visible membrane: life on the human body and its design applications, I am exploring the human skin and its potential. This project is part of my on-going research and creative process. This work is part of the (In)visible membrane project which consists of following projects: crocheted membrane, oversized petri dish, bacteria texture, visible membrane I, bacteria textile and the (in)visible film.

The (In)visible membrane confronts scientific data and methods with fashion design in order to find a balance between
 individual identity and the surrounding local environment. By doing so, I want to create a new second living layer on our body based on the interaction between individuals and the surrounding.

What fascinates me is the human skin, the layer between the inside and the outside. a second skin can be found on our skin. It is a layer full of life, which serves as a membrane for exchange. This body membrane is made from the same substance as the world. The human body does not end with its skin, but it is invisibly expanding into space. The hidden membrane is something between our body and our environment. We enter this invisible micro level with a microscope and then enlarge it with design.

What happens if we make the micro world of the human body perceivable?I want to confront people with the fact that our body is a large host of bacteria and that a balanced perception of the body is closely linked with a balanced perception of the self.


Graduation project, 2009