Dear Cell - MANIFESTA 13 - Les Parallèles du Sud

Solo exhibition at the Turbulence-Building in Marseille, September - October 2020

Text by Arnulf Rohsmann regina hübner / forschung und eros 

Turbulence is the renewed art and culture-pool of Aix-Marseille University at Campus Saint Charles in Marseille center.


With the support of Region Sud Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur; IMéRA - Institut d'études avancées d'Aix-Marseille Université; CIML Centre d’Immunologie Marseille-Luminy; Österreichisches Kultur Forum Paris; Bundeskanzleramt Österreich; Land Kärnten, Kultur; Stadt Villach, Kultur; Inmed Institut de neurobiologie de la méditerranée Marseille. 


Dear Cell is realised with the precious contribution of the researchers of CIML and Inmed, the Protagonists. 


Dear Cell is part of the interdisciplinary project Perception of Self and Nonself in Life realised at IMéRA, in collaboration with CIML and Inmed. See below.


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


It was in 2008 on a small island of Sicily, when I met the immunologists Evelina Gatti and Philippe Pierre. When I asked them about what they were exactly doing, they answered, that they research on the self and the non-self in life

I felt very close to this concept and I got inspired for the video-work touch

In recent times I faced the subjective perception and the project Perception of Self and Nonself in Life was born. 


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: Dear Cell (letters) and Dear Cell (transcriptions). Read 

They showed their eyes: Dear Cell (eyes)

They provided the images of their objects of research: Dear Cell (cells).   


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.


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

The eye is the organ the researcher 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, with a single glimpse we can fall in love.  


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. 


Immense gratitute to the Protagonists of CIML and Inmed. 




Jean-Pierre Gorvel, Research Director, Group Leader, CIML, Research on Host Pathogen Interaction 

Philippe Pierre, Research Director, Group Leader and Director CIML, Research on Dendritic Cells and Pathogens Sensing

Philippe Naquet, Professor, Group Leader, CIML, Research on Immunology 

Pierre Milpied, Chargé de recherche, Group Leader, CIML, Research on Integrative B Cell Immunology

Sandrine Roulland, Research Director, Group Leader, CIML, Research on Cancer Biology

Didier Marguet, Research Director, Group Leader, CIML, Research on Membrane Dynamics and T Lymphocyte Signaling

Agnès Baude, Senior Scientist, Inmed, Research on Neuroscience

Marc Dalod, Research Director, Group Leader, CIML, Research on Type 1 Conventional Dendritic Cell

Dario Armando Leone, Researcher, CIML, Research on Endolysosomal Trafficking in Immune Cells 

Sandrine Sarrazin, Researcher, CIML, Research on Stem Cell and Macrophage Biology

Serge van de Pavert, Research Director, Group Leader, CIML, Research on Development of the Immune System 

Mauro Gaya, Chargé de recherche, Group Leader, CIML, Research on B-Cell Immunology to Infection

Françoise Muscatelli, Research Director, Group Leader, Inmed, Research on Function of the Brain during Development 

Sophie Ugolini, Research Director, Group Leader, CIML, Research on Neuro-Immunology 

Michael Sieweke, Research Director, Group Leader CIML, Humboldt Professor, Research on Stem Cell and Macrophage Biology Bertrand Nadel, Research Director, Group Leader, CIML, Research on Genomic Instability and Human Hemopathies 

Evelina Gatti, Research Director, CIML, Research on Dendritic Cell Biology


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

Dear Cell (transcriptions). (excerpts)