GMU:Being a Unicellular Organism/Cosmo Niklas Schüppel

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Being a Unicellular Organism

2021/2022 Project and research

Cosmo Niklas Schüppel

common ground

An participatory installation that aims to create a space for an interspecial connection, inbetween humans and Euglena Gracilis - as equals



“common ground” is a participatory installation, creating a space in which the attendee can connect with the micro-algae Euglena Gracilis, through the shared experience of sonic frequencies. The installation consists of a dimly lit room, where E. Gracilis cells can be seen as projections, magnified through a microscope, as well as in shallow glass bowl, which stand on pedestals, that are spread around the room. Through the room vibrate sonic waves in form of musical drones. The participator is invited to watch their own inner reaction to the stimulant. The reaction of Euglena is left open and up to interpretation, trying to show the expectations a visitor might have about seeing the other beings react, instead of watching their own reactions.

The installation aims for creating a space for inter-special connection in-between human and E. Gracilis, a connection which would not naturally happen, because humans and microorganisms have fundamentally different ways of experiencing reality. The ways how we perceive the world almost never overlap, even though we share the same space of living. “common ground” does not indent to create a inter-special communication, but instead to create a place, where different forms of being can experience their reality in their natural way. We humans tend to create hierarchies of higher and lesser beings, based on different ways of perceiving, “common ground” gives the room to experience reality as equals, connected in being not connected.

The installation features live transmitted video of the organisms under the microscope and a stereo sound system. The drone music, monotonic frequencies without melodies or rhythm, are played from a recording. The visitors and the euglina, have both the same stimulant, to which they do, or don't react. The magnification of euglena is projected on natural fabrics, instead of screens or white walls, to give the video a less digital and more natural feeling. These magnifications are used to show what is also happening in the glass bowls that feature Euglena living in their medium.

Stressed are two perspectives onto E. gracilis (what we see with the naked eye, as well as the magnifications) to make visible that we, as humans, could not even start to understand them in our natural state and to again show the underlying need to understand others, in the human nature. The projection functions as a trigger to set of this instinct, but stands in contrast with the possible non-reactiveness of the cells, that bring the visitor back into their own center of perception.


*for older entries scroll down*


pre-project research (a summery and conclusion)

follow the link to read entry (03.01.2022)


A meeting ground (project idea)

follow the link to read entry (25.11.21)


A dance to invisible fields (project idea)

follow the link to read entry (b.14.11.21)

Invisible fields (project idea)

follow the link to read entry (14.11.21)


Ethics of working with living beings

follow the link to read entry (31.10.21)


Euglina Gracilis and Bio-fuels

follow the link to read the entry (28.10.21)