Created by Stefan Schwabe in collaboration with Fraunhofer CeRRI and Sebastian Kletzander, Gutfather is a speculative design project comprised of a capsule that traverses a human digestive system and changes its shape through the influence of microbes until it is secreted as an object bearing an imprint of its subject’s microbiome.
Stefan’s work, as documented in the past on CAN, combines art, design and natural sciences to question the role of the designer in processes of scientific knowledge. In collaboration with the Fraunhofer Institute CeRRI and the glassblower Sebastian Klatzender, Stefan explores the metaphorical “abdominal feeling” and the complexity of the microbiome from a scientific point of view.
Around 100 billion microbes are colonising the human gut system. The diversity of these species is huge and varies from person to person. This symbiotic collective, called the microbiom, is not only assisting with our digestion. Researchers only just begin to understand how it affects our brain and mind. As such the microbiom is a very personal condensation of life experiences, character traits and environmental influences. Literally speaking, as our gut feeling it builds the foundation of our life decisions and our relation to the world. The microbiom capsule allows to transfer a part of this condensate to another familiar person and encourages both, the donor as well as the recipient, to listen to the own inner voice.
Stefan teaches at the UdK Berlin since 2010 and also works as an independent designer. His projects are trials that reveal biotechnological possibilities and pursue a kind of poetic science.