Marie Declerfayt

Botanical Bodies

Systems Trail

A Diet’s World

Cellular Encounter

Written Landscape


Soap transparency

Fascinated by the human body as a set of infinitely complex biological mechanisms, I use art as a translation tool between the microscopic and the tangible, the current and the speculative, the known and the to be discovered.

As bio-engineering and synthetic biology develop at a fast pace, I feel the urgency to reflect on these practices from another perspective and question the potential applications that could be made of these technologies. 

My practice is based on pluridisciplinarity and collaboration and I give a lot of importance to the research of the right media to embody a theoretical research and as a result transcend it.



1. Botanical Bodies

Botanical Bodies, 2019
Botanical bodies investigates the possibility to use plants as a raw material for the creation of human compatible organs. Vegetal and human tissues share microscopic similarities making hybridation between those two kingdoms, which are usually seen as separated, a possibility.

What if the physical body could progressively merge with the vegetal world? What happens if we consider our body not as an independent set of organ, but as an organism constantly evolving toward a symbiosis with plants?

Bringing recent scientific research to a speculative level, this project investigates new ways to use the shaping powers of nature, thanks to which a poplar tree can be modified to the point of replacing an actual human bone.

From the extraction of the bespoke bones from the transplantation, boundaries between disconnected organisms fade away toward a new synergy. 

Wood and human bones share microscopic similarities, which makes wood an excellent candidate for the creation of artificial bones. What if the transplantation of poplar bones would lead to a blend between the identity of the plant and the one of the receiver? An hybridation between humans and tree, man kind slowly merging back to the vegetal kingdom.

Bones are the organs approaching the most vegetal characteristics : slowly renewing, they could be the first vector for this man-plant symbiosis.

Being able to extract bones and more generally organs out of plants would lead to a commodification of bones : where transplantation is not reserved anymore for fixing issues, but as a way to achieve a desired synergy with the vegetal kingdom.

Decellularization is a technique used to treat plants before they could be used as scaffolds for the growth of human cell lines. Leaving only the cell walls made of pectine and cellulose, the decellularization process makes the plants transparent and opens the door for a new kind of hybridation : the spinach becomes the support for human cells, a bit less plant and more human.


2. Systems Trail

Systems Trail, 2019

Systems Trail aims at creating awareness about often ignored biological systems by proposing a set of exercise stations that responds to each organ system: digestive, nervous, skeletal, urinary, lymphatic, and muscular.

It investigates the possibility to provide a different approach for classical outdoor fitness trails, which usually focus on muscular development and cardio training. What about the remaining ten systems that are the core of the human body?

Each station proposes a movement customed to take care of the corresponding system and reflects on the bodies biological mechanisms in its shape and aesthetic.

Outdoor fitness trails are a familiar setting offering to everyone the possibility to do sport in a programmed environment, discovering station after station how the human body can be mapped out of these overlapping systems.


3. A Diet’s World

A Diet’s World, 2018

A Diet’s World started from the constatation that in our modern food system, All you can eat restaurants cohabit with the huge market of Diets. Triggered by this not absurd but at least though-provoking association, I started to study how all you can eat restaurants and diet programs market themselves to gain more customers. Out of this study, I created a visual data book dissecting 70 diets, with their restricted and suggested aliments and showed on a table display the impossibility to extract one line out of these very serious recommendations. 

70 Diets dissected and displayed


4. Cellular Encounter

Cellular Encounter, in collaboration with Ying Deng, Phd at Wageningen University, 2018
How does drinking milk wage war on a cellular level? Because heat is applied to milk during the industrial preservation processes an inflammatory reaction is triggered in the intestines. The cells alert the body of a foreign element, or invader, to be eliminated. The Cellular Encounter Table Game makes the inside visible on the outside through reenacting this process. Two players drink milk while reproducing the inner invisible battle of the macrophages. The name of the game is to not play against each other but use the different pieces to win balance. Temperature, proteins (processed and not processed), sentry cells, cytokines (the chemical signals cells use to communicate) are moved on the ‘board-table’ in relation to their properties, reacting to each other in the intestinal battle field.

The encounter of each kind of element (immune cell, cytokine, glucose, protein) creates a reaction that the players have to follow. The goal of the game is to reach a balance between inflammation and anti-inflammation, following different lines of actions. 


1. Written Landscape

Written landscape, 2015

Written words are omnipresent in our daily urban experience, creating a mass one does not pay attention anymore. I gathered all the words from five streets of Eindhoven, to understand how they create a more or less dense whole and what they communicate. Extracting these information from their urban environment allowed me to see beyond the hierarchy created by the dimension of the letters. This systematic translation made me discover tiny stories and an incredible amount of information I wouldn’t have known without looking for them. Brought together, the words create an absurd text but a revealing pile of sign. A color and size legend for the map allowed me to characterize words without using other words.