Half your body is non-human. To be more precise, more than half of the cells in your body do not carry human DNA but turn out to be microscopic creatures, mostly bacteria, and viruses. The concept of a holobiont refers to an assemblage of a host, plus all of the resident microbes that live in it and on it. Some of the microbes co-evolve with the host and are able to affect the holobiont’s phenotype. Research has shown that gut bacterias can also influence people’s social behavior, especially their anxiety, stress, and depressive-like behaviors.
In the article I, holobiont, Derek Skillings argues for a redefinition of human existence, “are you a holobiont, or are you just part of one? Are you a multispecies entity, made up of some human bits and some microbial bits – or are you just the human bits, with an admittedly fuzzy boundary between yourself and your tiny companions?” This project explores this fuzzy boundary and views the body as a habitat, as a landscape, as an ecological system. Moreover, the work also looks at the concept of holobiont from a cultural aspect, that humans are synthesis influenced by society, technology, and artificial knowledge. It touches on conversations about environmental engineering in the Anthropocene, especially the land reclamation construction in Shenzhen and how that affected the ecological balance of its mangrove forest, and thinks of the landscape as a body.