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Dirty Eden: human bacteria goes on show

Dirty Eden: human bacteria goes on show

We know through classic ad campaigns such as the one for Yakult that good and bad bacteria live all around and inside us. It's something which friend of Imperica Anna Dumitriu has spent much of her artistic career investigating, with works now on permanent exhibition at Cornwall's Eden Project. 


As part of the Eden Project's wider exhibition Invisible you: the human microbiome, Anna has been working with Drs Caroline Chilton and Jane Freeman from the University of Leeds to create Don't try this at home, an installation exploring faecal microbacteria transplants. This process involves the injection of beneficial bacterial and yeasts from a healthy donor into the gut of a patient. In other words, turning bad shit into good shit. It's used for the treatment of superbug C-diff.

A thread - if that's the right term - running through Anna's work is fabric and textiles stained with bacteria. That's also the case here, with stained cloth and a stained antique box displayed alongside other artefacts (they have been sterilised, so you won't catch anything).


The second work on show, made by Anna and Alex May, is called The human super-organism. Visitors to put their hands onto a virtual Petri dish to watch the bacteria which live on them "grow" and become visible. This work, written in C++, uses sensors to correctly locate and size the hands, with the bacteria imagery automatically generated from a set of HD time-lapse films.


Both works are now on show at the Eden Project. We have past articles for further reading on Anna and Alex and their work, and there's further info at Anna's Tumblr here.

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