Sonja Bäumel transforms bacteria that naturally inhabit the skin into visible, functional and flexible membranes or ‘clothing items’. The organic layer becomes visible on the skin and forms new ‘clothing’.
Bäumel’s background is in fashion design, and some of her other works translate the invisible microbiome into a tangible layer through incredible hand-crocheted and knitted pieces. The Textured Self represents the amount, color, and shape of microbial colonies isolated from different parts of her skin, knitted onto a life-size silhouette. Her master’s thesis project, (In)visible Membrane, imagines if the invisible layer of our microbiome could become visible, responding to our body temperature and producing materials in the cold places where we need them most. Her project is made up of several parts that “mediate between science and fashion, science and art, between facts and imagination, between body and clothes.”