[ISEA2018] Artist Statement: Muhannad Shono — AiL film program: Living Ideas

Artist Statement

Art, Science & Us sub-programme

Muhannad Shono worked within the Drinking Water Microbiology Group, lead by Dr. Frederik Hammes. Based on his exploration of the scientific research on Bacteria he developed his own fictional organism. He compares this organism with LUCA (Last Universal Common Ancestor), the hypothetical last common ancestor and foundation stone of all organisms. On a metaphorical level his project led to the origins of civilisation. Referring to the creative processes in the arts and in scientific research groups, the artist puts the fictional organism in the context of his artists-in-labs residency: «It’s a behavioural organism that originates from within our internal microbiome, a physical manifestation of a human behaviour or need. It appears to be an organism who’s only purpose or reason for being is the propagation and spread of ideas, this idea rich institute seems to be the ideal environment for this organism to grow.

  • From an early age, Muhannad Shono drew comics with twisted storylines and fictional worlds. His love for story-telling is still evident in his work today. Shono works with ink and paper, incorporating sculptural, animated and acoustic elements. As a naturalized Saudi citizen to Syrian parents, he addresses displacement, migration and identity in his work. During his residency at Eawag, Shono focused on the origin of bacteria, how they develop and behave. Inspired by his research, he developed his own organism which he describes as the “physical embodiment of an idea”, and the research laboratories as the ideal environment for it to thrive. Shono graduated in architecture from King Fahd University of Petroleum & Minerals in Dharan, Saudi Arabia. He lives and works in Saudi Arabia.

Supported by artistsinlabs.ch/en