Contagious Care

Towards a More-Than-Antimicrobial Citizenry


  • Serina Tarkhanian Designer and independent scholar



microbio-politics, art-science, microbiome health, biodesign


Living in times of virulent fear leaves marks on the body, traces of microscopic trauma folded into the flesh, reflecting an embodied fear of the microbial other. It’s a fear that runs deep, one that’s forever altered our somatic phronesis, the embodied knowledges built from our socio-cultural experiences of health.

With the world in a state of dysbiosis, ways of living and being in the West have quickly tipped to reflect the fervently antimicrobial approach of public healthcare institutions, an ongoing approach that’s conversely had the effect of imbuing our somatic phronesis with an 'antimicrobiality’ of sorts. We know the choreographies of social distancing by heart, our bodies naturally leaning and veering away from one another without giving it a second thought. Now that unconscious biases such as these are deeply enmeshed within our behavioral responses, we find ourselves performing a new form of citizenry, one that is intrinsically antibiotic.





Peer Reviewed Articles