Sidonie Knight

The Shedding of Second Skins, 2021. Kombucha SCOBY (Symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeasts) growing in a large vat. 80 x 60 cm

Image description: This image is a photograph of my hand lifting a large symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeasts from a vat of Kombucha SCOBY. This living bio-material has a skin-like appearance, highly textured in its wet state. The image depicts the performative act of peeling away ‘other’ skin.

The skin is an organ, a living material, a membrane between the body and the external world. I explore the relationship between skin and touch, using my body as the starting point in my practice. My work consists of casts, etchings, sculptures and microscopic images depicting both literal and interpretive expressions of my own skin.

The material processes I engage are closely tied to my bodily material and personal experience of psoriasis. The nature of this condition is that of rubbing, flaking, itching, scratching, peeling, excrescence. My practice embodies these actions to create results that reflect the ever-changing nature of my skin and its overproduction of skin cells.

I explore the behaviour of living bio-materials, conceptualising the shedding of skin as an excess and ethereal bodily material. I cultivate and utilise Kombucha SCOBY (a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeasts) as a substitute for my own skin. I am interested in the point where this material begins to exhibit its own behaviour, and how it mimics the constantly changing and unpredictable growth of psoriasis. Additionally, I am interested in the olfactory possibilities for art, for as the SCOBY material grows it results in a pungent smell that ‘touches’ the viewer before they can physically engage with the material.

Instagram: @sidonieknight