An artist and a synthetic biologist took samples from the armpits, toes, bellybuttons, and noses, of 71 people. Then they made cultured dairy products.

The labels aren’t lying. Pictured above are Toe Cheese and Armpit Cheese. By combining bacterial cultures swabbed from the human body with age old culinary techniques, Bacterially — an ongoing project by Sissel Tolaas, a professional artist and scent researcher, and Christina Agapakis, a postdoctoral research fellow in synthetic biology at UCLA — looks to understand the deeper connection between our bodies and our food.

This project began with the realization that the ecosystem of the human skin was often remarkably similar to the characteristic microbes in cheese…to explore the connection between our skin and our food, we produce cheeses by intentionally sampling these regions of the body and culturing skin bacteria in milk…creating unique odors and cheese characteristics.

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