SOLU Dialogues: You contain more-than-culture

14 Mar 2024 18:00

Location: SOLU

SOLU Dialogues: You contain more-than-culture: Inheriting microbial communities through the senses
14 March 2024
SOLU Space, Panimokatu 1 (3rd floor), Helsinki


The third iteration of SOLU Dialogues by Kaajal Modi is inspired by Finnish and Global South fermentation practices, sauna culture, seed and Oodi libraries and recent attempts to codify and monitor the human microbiome. During the evening, participants are invited to consider what an expanded practice of microbiopolitics, that can incorporate sensory, embodied and creative practices might look, feel, smell, sound, and taste like.

Human bodies are holobionts composed of a host and trillions of microorganisms whose collective functioning keeps the whole alive. As ancestors, allies, and symbiotes, microbes have lived alongside us as long as we have lived. Human symbioses with microorganisms are an important adaptation and survival strategy that have shaped us and the world around us in important and meaningful ways. Yet, like many forms of biodiversity, global microbial biodiversity is under threat from climate change and an increasingly industrialised food system and a loss of land-based knowledge about heritage food practices.

Microbial inheritance is often understood as taking the form of vertical genetic inheritance, yet it can also be the stories, foods, medicines and cultural practices that we inherit through which we can trace the ways humans have been entangled with microorganisms. MHL is a project that frames microbes as heirlooms that are passed down intergenerationally from our ancestors, and which can be shared as resources and allies between communities as a way to build multispecies solidarities and microbiocultural resilience. Participants will be invited to explore the theme of human-microbial cultural inheritance in their own contexts and histories as a precursor to the building of a Microbial Heritage Library.

During the event, Kaajal will share their thoughts and some works in progress. They invite participants to think about their bodies and the environments we inhabit as inseparably entangled with the buildings, bodies and practices that surround us.

You are welcome to bring your own samples of microbial heritage to the event.


Please share any food allergies ahead by Monday 11th March 2024. Participants with high histamine levels or a histamine intolerance are strongly discouraged from tasting any of the ferments, but are welcome to smell and touch the materials.

Kaajal Modi (she/they) is a multidisciplinary artist and researcher working through creative practices that explore how making in collaboration with diverse communities (human, microbial and otherwise) can be a way to open up new speculations on how we might create more resilient climate futures. Their practice is rooted in co-creation, and incorporates fermenting, cooking, image making, live art, sound, video and creative interactions to create lively and situated encounters between people, organisms and ecosystems in ways that invite critical reflection and action.


SOLU Dialogues is an ongoing event series at SOLU Space where art, science and society meet. Through varying formats we host artists, scientists and other practitioners present and discuss their work. These events are a forum for exchange and dialogue between our members, collaborators, communities and publics.