Residency Program Title
KAUST-Swiss Residency Exchange 2016/2017
Institute Lab Title
Drinking Water Microbiology Group
Born to Syrian parents, Muhannad Shono grew up in Saudi Arabia. He currently lives and works in Riyadh and Sidney. Shono completed his studies in architecture at the King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals in Dharan, Saudi Arabia. His artworks grapple with themes of displacement, migration and identity. At a young age he was already writing comic books which wove together various storylines, fictional worlds and drawings. Shono likes to extend his use of ink on paper beyond the traditional forms by bringing sculptural, animated and acoustic elements into his works. He describes the artistic process as “a journey in which materials and methods are given the time and space they need to best tell and serve the story”.
Muhannad Shono worked within the Drinking Water Microbiology Group, lead by Dr. Frederik Hammes. Based on his exploration of the scientific research on Bacteria he developed his own fictional organism. He compares this organism with LUCA (Last Universal Common Ancestor), the hypothetical last common ancestor and foundation stone of all organisms. On a metaphorical level his project led to the origins of civilisation. Referring to the creative processes in the arts and in scientific research groups, the artist puts the fictional organism in the context of his artists-in-labs residency: «It’s a behavioural organism that originates from within our internal microbiome, a physical manifestation of a human behaviour or need. It appears to be an organism who's only purpose or reason for being is the propagation and spread of ideas, this idea rich institute seems to be the ideal environment for this organism to grow».