Hand Taste (son-mat), 2016 - 2017
Living bacteria, glasses, Agar, Dimensions Variables
Hand Taste (Son-mat) investigates and represents the relationship between the inheritance of cultural tradition and unseen organisms that are inherited. These objects are designed to stimulate targeted areas of the inner mouth, forming physicality and arousing particular memories of taste and culinary fulfillment which recall Woo’s experience of her family’s “hand taste.” The objects also contain her mother’s living hand microbiomes, which Woo has collected via bacteria collecting swabs. She has then identified these organisms by applying scientific methodologies, such as the Polymerase Chain Reaction and DNA sequencing.
The genes of human and bacterial life combine, and activate the historically variable elements of culture, belonging, and heritage. This project concretizes the socially and ethnographically rich construct of “hand taste” by blending the languages of art and science.
From the USA, where Woo lives, to Korea, where her mother lives, Woo has exchanged several packages to collect her mother’s hand microorganisms across the continents with failures and a success. She has then identified these organisms by applying scientific methodologies, such as the Polymerase Chain Reaction and DNA sequencing.
Woo designed, and blew these glass objects with her mouth, collapsing their mode of production with their oral function. By glass blowing these objects, Woo recalls her mother’s hand taste in a way that communicates delicacy and that enacts a synesthetic experience in the viewer and user.