Show Calendar


The Sentinel Self, by Sissel Marie Tonn

The Sentinel Self is an interactive artwork by Danish artist Sissel Marie Tonn that reflects on the entanglements between human immune systems and environments increasingly polluted by microplastics.

Built within a video game engine, The Sentinel Self is an ongoing and complex simulation of hundreds of interacting cell-like creatures within a vast aquatic, body-like ecosystem. "Sentinel species" is the collective name given by environmental scientists to organisms whose sensitivity to environmental change helps to understand the health and vulnerability of an ecosystem.

The study of sentinel organisms in the oceans sheds light on the effects of microplastic pollution and recent research has shown that microplastic pollution is also found within human bodies, suggesting that humans have joined the ranks of the sentinel species. Inspired by conversations with immunologists, eco-toxicologists, and biological physicists, Sissel Marie Tonn has created a simulation that explores concerns about microplastics and their impact on both ecologies and our own immune systems.

The Sentinel Self was created in part through a joint artistic residency between the Sussex Humanities Lab, Sussex Centre for Consciousness Science, and ACCA in early 2022. It is now exhibited as a week-long installation at the Jane Attenborough Studio at ACCA, as part of the symposium Life Perceives happening on 20 January 2023, in the auditorium at Attenborough Centre for the Creative Arts, University of Sussex.

The installation is open daily to the public from 12:00-16:00, Monday 16 - Friday 20 January 2023

For more information and tickets for the Life Perceives symposium, visit the symposium website at

Dates & Times

  • Monday 16 January, 2023
    12:00pm – 4:00pm
  • Tuesday 17 January, 2023
    12:00pm – 4:00pm
  • Wednesday 18 January, 2023
    12:00pm – 4:00pm
  • Thursday 19 January, 2023
    12:00pm – 4:00pm
  • Friday 20 January, 2023
    9:00am – 6:00pm
The Sentinel Self, by Sissel Marie Tonn
Monday 16 January  – Friday 20 January
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