Photosynthetic Me

Bioart, Interactive and immersive Sci-Fi documentary
Photosynthetic Me Bioart, Interactive and immersive Sci-Fi documentary
project 2020

concept and design Vanessa V
images Andrea Macchia
scientific design Vincenzo Guarnieri
Production Alessia Gervasone
Thanks to Mara Brancaccio and her laboratory for the scientific support and Andrea Ballo for the images provided during the Covid-19 quarantine


01 January 2020

Innovative technologies that allow techniques such as CRISPR bring up again the genetic debate, since it places us in front of new scientific possibilities that strongly affect important issues in our contemporary society.

Photosynthetic me is one of the ways to deal with some bigger ethical questions related to this debate: What if we could replace the diseased parts of our DNA? What if we could swap genes with other species, becoming like leaves? Is this natural? Can I evolve in my imperfection? Is it possible to be perfect?

evolution? Is it really possible to be “perfect”? 

Photosynthetic Me emerges from a process-based experiment around the idea of becoming plantlike in which I am the test subject. It is based on scientific studies of the photosynthetic qualities of the  Elysia chlorotica slug. The aim is my evolution, whereby I try to activate a photosynthetic system that can make me self-sufficient in terms of food and energy requirements. The installation explores the limits between science, fiction, art and life by displaying video and text documentation. It also actively involves the visitor. “Photosynthetic Me” is part of a personal path started a few years ago when I tested positive for the risk of two genetic mutations: breast cancer (BRCA1) and thrombosis (MTHFR), in light of which I decided to inquire into the debate around innovative genetic techniques.

Photosynthetic Me was premiered at Ars Electronica Festival 2020

Photosynthetic Me Bioart, Interactive and immersive Sci-Fi documentary
project 2020

concept and design Vanessa V
images Andrea Macchia
scientific design Vincenzo Guarnieri
Production Alessia Gervasone
Thanks to Mara Brancaccio and her laboratory for the scientific support and Andrea Ballo for the images provided during the Covid-19 quarantine