Homo Amoeba
Berlin, 2007-2009
Homo Amoeba
Microscopic top view. Photograph of an experiment with the Dictyostelium Discoideum Amoebas in a three dimensional grid.The rectangular shaped obstacles are 30 x 30 x 6 micrometer high. A Dictyostelium amoeba can stretch around 12 micrometers.
Homo Amoeba
Portrait of Werner Seidel, the microchip technician in the clean room who prepares the microscopic obstacle course for the amoebas.
Homo Amoeba
The preparation of the microscopic obstacle course in the clean room. The technology used is comparable with the construction of a microchip.
Homo Amoeba
The preparation of the microscopic obstacle course in the clean room. The technology used is comparable with the construction of a microchip.

Duration Homo Amoeba film: 1:53 min Duration documentary: 14.53 min

Project “Homo Amoeba” started out of a fascination with amoebas, i.e. micro-organisms with an elastic cell wall. Amoeba comes from the greek word “ amoiba” meaning “change”. Because of its elastic cell wall, the amoeba changes shape all the time. This allows it to adapt to any situation. I considered this as a philosophical ideal. If we could think as flexibly as an amoeba, we could understand our world much better. In addition we would be also much more creative by progressing on from our pre-shaped thinking patterns.

Project

To show the adaptabillity of the amoeba, I asked Werner Seidel, a microchiptechnician to build a microscopic obstacle course for the amoeba. With microbiologist Ralph Gräf, I filmed the experiment with amoebas inside an artificial labyrinth.

The film is on one hand a documentary about my collaboration with the scientists Ralph and Werner who made this biological experiment possible. On the other hand it is a more personal experiment, where I put my philosophical ideal about flexibillity to the test.

The project was made in collaboration with Erfan Abdi (musician), Ralph Gräf (microbiologist, University of Potsdam), Werner Seidel (microchiptechnician, Paul-Drude Institute), Yusuke Yamasuki (dancer), Philipp Tigris and Lena Ries (contortionists.)

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