For the 3rd Istanbul Design Biennial, Microbial Design Studio is used to design a special diet using traditional Turkish simits. We have mixed different strains of wild yeast that are sourced from different people and places in Istanbul with standardized lab cultures that are capable of producing vitamins, flavors, and smells. The “microbial simit diet” has a novel simit for everyday; it suggest a different perception of the microbial gut flora not only for traditional weight control but to diversify the culture inside us. The 30-day diet spans over the duration of the biennial and intend to become a commentary on the desires of controlling the appearance, form, and aesthetics of the body and its image—both for ourselves and the organisms—by designing them from within.
What we choose to eat and not to eat ultimately reflects our ideology. Here, the Microbial Design Studio intends to bring more designers to the conversation on genetically sourced products. The yeasts grown with the microbial design studio are genetically modified organisms. They source special vitamins and flavors for the dough to make every simit different from each other. Whether we are in favor or against genetic manipulation, the microbial design studio and the diet shows how to do it at home, in the kitchen or at the design studio. It invites the designer to take sides in the discussion and have a more discursive understanding of Microbial Humanities not only by studying it but also by shaping it from within.
Are We Human, 3rd Istanbul Design Biennial, Studio-X, Istanbul, 2016
Allen, Joshua. Dr. Frankenstein’s Breakfast: Biodesign at the Istanbul Design Biennial, The Guide Istanbul. Issue September-October 2016, pp. 54-55.
Photography by Engin Gercek.