SPARE PARTS: Microbiome Rebirth Incubator performance

A woman breastfeeding her child as part of the Microbiome Rebirth Incubator performance
Thursday, February 28, 2019 - 14:00
Science Gallery London, First Floor
FREE, booking essential


Launching our SPARE PARTS season is this live performance by artist François-Joseph Lapointe exploring the transfer of microbes between mother and child following childbirth.

There are trillions of microorganisms living on and within our bodies. What role do they play in our health? And can any protective qualities they possess be passed on down through generations?

Through a series of rituals the artist will ‘seed’ the Microbiome Rebirth Incubator, an installation designed in response to a practice known as “vaginal seeding” - where a mother’s vaginal fluids are smeared on her baby’s body and mouth immediately after caesarean birth in the hopes of passing on healthy microbes.

Could an incubator such as this, seeded with breastmilk and vaginal microbiome, bring mother and child even closer together, strengthening and diversifying the microbiome?

PLEASE NOTE: The exact start time of the event will depend on the feeding time of the baby. The performance will last approximately 30 minutes, followed by a 10 minute Q&A.

Photo: Microbiome Rebirth Incubator; seeding performance, François-Joseph Lapointe. Image courtesy Ars Electronica, 2018.



François-Joseph Lapointe is an artscientist from Montréal with a PhD in evolutionary biology and a PhD in dance and performance studies. As a scientist, he has published 120 papers ranging from population genetics to metagenomics. As an artist, he is currently sequencing his microbiome (and that of his wife) to produce microbiome selfies.



Chloe Spicer is a bookish artist, performer and sweet baby-sick-scented mother of two (Libby 7.5yrs & Toby 3mths). After a hybrid education of theatre, fine art, bookbinding and years of professional library lurking, she curates interdisciplinary and participatory works across the UK, and in her pop-up book arts studio Object Book.



Xim Phu is a community caseloading midwife working in London. She supports and advocate for women and their families during pregnancy, birth and postnatally. She is interested in the transfer of microbiome from mother to infant during birth and breastfeeding and how this may influence maternal infant attachment.