Dear Cell

Perception of Self and Nonself in Life

Project realized at IMéRA Institut for Advanced Research of Aix-Marseille University, 2019.

In collaboration with CIML Institute for Immunology Marseille-Luminy. In collaboration with Inmed Institut de Neurobiologie de la Méditerranée. Perception of Self and Nonself in Life


The visual part of the project Perception of Self and Nonself in Life is entitled Dear Cell. It is composed by the videos Dear Cell (eyes), Dear Cell (letters), Dear Cell (transcriptions) and Dear Cell (cells).  


17 Research Directors, Group Leaders, Researchers and Professors of CIML and Inmed are the Protagonists of Dear Cell.

They wrote a letter to their object of research and another letter to themselves, personifying their object of research.

They showed their eyes.

They provided the images of their objects of research.   


Dear Cell (letters) – video-recorded handwriting by the Protagonists and Dear Cell (transcriptions) – graphic video, transcriptions of the handwritten letters

A handwritten letter is rare. It is important. It is classic. Writing by hand takes time and presumes dedication. The calligraphy is the seismograph of our inner status and identifies us. A typed letter is clearly to read. It is abstract. It is a documentation. A letter is a vehicle of communication, its message lasts. A dedicated letter makes us feel important and our heart beats, we are happy, when we receive one from our beloved. We communicate with words. (R.H.)


Dear Cell (eyes) - video of the Protagonist’s eyes

The eye is the organ the researchers uses to observe. It is an “instrument”, which works in all individuals in the same way, but there is no same eye in the world, it belongs exclusively to us, it distinguishes and identifies us.  The eye is beautiful, it is precious. To look each other in the eyes means to come in deep touch and we don’t need words to understand each other. The eyes are the mirror of the soul, eyes cannot lie, a glimpse can petrify someone, with a single glimpse we can fall in love.  (R.H.) 


Dear Cell (Cells) – video with confocal, multiphoton and light sheet microscopy images and videos of cells produced by Ciml and Inmed 

The images, on which the researchers work, are impressive, astonishing, beautiful, surprising. We carry those images in our bodies, some of them remind on pictures of our universe. They are attractive and stimulate the phantasy. Their aesthetic is independent of their value. The image proves what happens. (R.H.)


Gratitute to the Protagonists of CIML and Inmed.  


Compilation with Dear Cell (eyes) from 00:00 to 20:40 and Dear Cell (cells) from 20:40 to the end. (excerpts)

Dear Cell (eyes), excerpt

Dear Cell (transcriptions), excerpt