Dear Cell - MANIFESTA 13 - Les Parallèles du Sud

Espace Fernand Pouillon, 3 Place Victor Hugo, 13331 Marseille, France

6 - 28 November 2020. Mon - Fri 10.00 - 19.00. Sat 10.00 - 13.00.

The exhibition was first scheduled at the Turbulence Building, but cancelled due to the first general lockdown.

It was then re-scheduled for November at Espace Pouillon, but also cancelled a few days before the opening due to the second general lockdown in France. 


Dear Cell by Regina Huebner is a solo exhibition at MANIFESTA 13 - Les Paralléles du Sud

Text by Arnulf Rohsmann regina hübner / forschung und eros


Dear Cell consists of the precious contributions of 17 researchers, of CIML Centre d'Immunologie Marseille-Luminy and Inmed Institut de neurobiologie de la méditerranée Marseille. 


It is part of the interdisciplinary project Perception of Self and Nonself in Life conceived in 2019 at IMéRA Institute d'etudes avancées d'Aix-Marseille Université, in collaboration with CIML Centre d'Immunologie Marseille-Luminy. Further info below.


The exhibition at MANIFESTA 13 is realised with the support of: 

IMéRA - Institut d'études avancées d'Aix-Marseille UniversitéRFIEA French Network of Institutes for Advanced StudiesCIML Centre d’Immunologie Marseille-Luminy (CNRSInsermAMU); AMU Aix-Marseille UniversityRegion Sud Provence-Alpes-Côte d'AzurDepartmental Council of Bouches-du-RhôneAustrian Cultural Forum ParisFederal Ministry of the Republic of AustriaFederal State of CarinthiaThe City of Villach.


MANIFESTA 13 is under the High Patronage of Mr Emmanuel MACRON President of the French Republic.


Dear Cell - Perception of Self and Nonself in Life

It was on an island in Sicily in 2008, where the immunologists Evelina Gatti and Philippe Pierre explained to me the core of their research: Self and Non-Self in Life. This concept inspired me for the interdisciplinary project Perception of Self and Nonself in Life, which I have developed in 2019 at the IMèRA Institute for Advanced Study of Aix-Marseille University, in collaboration with CIML Centre d’Immunologie de Marseille-Luminy. The resulting artwork is called Dear Cell.


Dear Cell shows the unique connotations of the researchers and of their objects of research. It inverts the usual relationship between subject and object and the perception of what we are and what we are not.

17 Researchers of CIML Centre d'Immunologie de Marseille-Luminy and Inmed Institute of Mediterranean Neurobiology Marseille participated constituently at the project and are the so-called Protagonists.


The researchers wrote heartfelt letters to their object of research (Letter from ME-researcher to YOU-object) and wrote a letter back to themselves, personifying the object (Letter from YOU-object to ME-researcher). Their handwriting was recorded, and the transcription of the letters was edited as a film. Read all letters here.  

The researchers provided images of their research objects produced with confocal, multiphoton, and light sheet microscopy produced by their laboratories at CIML and Inmed with which a filmic version was edited.

The eye of each researcher was filmed.


Dear Cell is composed by four independent videos: 

Dear Cell (eyes),56'39"

Dear Cell (letters),5h58'26"

Dear Cell (transcriptions), 59'41" 

Dear Cell (cells), 34'35"


Dear Cell (letters) - A handwritten letter is rare nowadays. It is therefore important. It is classic. Writing by hand takes time and presumes dedication. The calligraphy is the seismograph of our inner status and identifies us. When the line appears, it evokes a living system with its singular shape and speed.

Dear Cell (transcriptions) - 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 ones.

A typed letter is clearly to be read. It is abstract. It is a documentation.

Dear Cell (cells) - The images, on which the researchers work, are impressive, astonishing, beautiful. We carry those infinite parts in our bodies, some of the images remind us on our universe. They are attractive and stimulate phantasy. Their aesthetic is independent from their value. The image is a proof of what is taking place.

Dear Cell (eyes) - The eye is the organ the researchers use to observe. It is an “instrument”, which works for each one in the same way, but there is no same eye in the world, the iris distinguishes and identifies, it is exclusive. The eye is beautiful, it is precious. To look into the eyes means to come in deep touch and we do not 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.


Protagonists (in order of appearance) 

Jean-Pierre Gorvel (Research Director, Group Leader, CIML), Host Pathogen Interaction; Philippe Pierre (Research Director, Group Leader and Director CIML), Dendritic Cells and Pathogens Sensing; Philippe Naquet (Professor, Group Leader, CIML), Immunology; Pierre Milpied (Chargé de recherche, Group Leader, CIML), Integrative B Cell Immunology; Sandrine Roulland (Research Director, Group Leader, CIML), Cancer Biology; Didier Marguet (Research Director, Group Leader, CIML), Membrane Dynamics and T Lymphocyte Signaling; Agnès Baude (Senior Scientist, Inmed), Neuroscience; Marc Dalod (Research Director, Group Leader, CIML), Type 1 Conventional Dendritic Cell; Dario Armando Leone (Researcher, CIML), Endolysosomal Trafficking in Immune Cells; Sandrine Sarrazin (Researcher, CIML), Stem Cell and Macrophage Biology; Serge van de Pavert (Research Director, Group Leader, CIML), Development of the Immune System; Mauro Gaya (Chargé de recherche, Group Leader, CIML), B-Cell Immunology to Infection; Françoise Muscatelli (Research Director, Group Leader, Inmed), Function of the Brain during Development; Sophie Ugolini (Research Director, Group Leader, CIML), Innate Lymphoid Cells and Neural Regulation of Immunity; Michael Sieweke (Research Director, Group Leader, CIML, Humboldt Professor, Stem Cell and Macrophage Biology; Bertrand Nadel (Research Director, Group Leader, CIML), Genomic Instability and Human Hemopathies; Evelina Gatti (Research Director, CIML), Dendritic Cell Biology


Profound gratitude to the researchers of CIML and Inmed Institutes for their precious contributions and their availability to take part of the project.

Dear Cell (eyes) from 00:00 to 20:40 (excerpts)

Dear Cell (cells) from 20:40 to the end (excerpts)

Dear Cell (transcriptions). (excerpts)

Render at Turbulence Building, the first venue for Dear Cell at MANIFESTA 13 in June 2020. 

Cancelled due to the first general lockdown and re-scheduled in October at Espace Pouillon.   

Share on