Fancy A Nibble? Artists Have Made Human Cheese From Toe, Armpit, And Belly Button Bacteria

Think of the most unappealing food imaginable. Got it? OK, whatever it was you thought of it probably pales in comparison to a collaborative art project called Selfmade by Christina Agapakis and Sissel Tolaas.

Sissel Tolaas, who currently has a piece exhibiting at the Museum Tinguely in Switzerland, is a scent specialist and artist, while Christina Agapakis is a biologist and artist.

For a 2013 exhibition about synthetic biology, called Grow Your Own ... Life After Nature, at the Science Gallery in Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland they collected bacteria from various artists, scientists, and cheesemakers.

From their armpits, toes, noses, mouths, belly buttons, even their tears.

They then turned these into eleven different cheeses, each one having the smell and taste of the donor's body odour. "Many of the stinkiest cheeses are hosts to species of bacteria closely related to the bacteria responsible for the characteristic smells of human armpits or feet." notes Agapakis.

Have you thrown up yet?

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Toe cheese

Explaining how they made the human fromage she says, "Swabs from hands, feet, noses, and armpits were inoculated into fresh, pasteurized, organic whole milk and incubated overnight at 37° Celsius.

The milk curds were then strained and pressed, yielding unique smelling fresh cheeses."

The idea of the project wasn't to make you feel nauseous, but rather to demonstrate how similar bacterial organisms live in both our food and on us.

"Nobody will eat these cheeses, but we hope that the cheese can inspire new conversations about our relationship to the body and to our bacteria." said Agapakis.

Check out some of the mouth-watering varieties below.

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Belly button cheese


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Mouth cheese


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Armpit cheese