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Bacteriography – SciArt needs a Kickstart to Escape the Lab

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.


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Bacteria from stars? Yep. Detail from the Star Stuff series, © Zachary Copfer.

Bringing sciart to the public isn’t always an easy task – and the growing (culturing, har har) field of bioart is some of the toughest art to showcase of all.

It’s harder than hanging a painting without using nails, as many contemporary galleries insist, leading to those dangling chains from ceiling braces. Bioart, the field usually consisting of grown bacteria in petri dishes, has added problems of storage, care and disposal. Much like topiary, you can’t just plant some seeds and walk away.

You may remember “Bacteriographer” Zachary Copfer from last year’s Symbiartic post, Day-Glo Velocirabbit – bioart begins to mature.He’s currently seeking funding to launch a new gallery show.

From his Kickstarter page:

I foresee using bacteriography to further investigate a couple of issues. The first being that of the symbiosis between humans and bacteria. More specifically, how bacteria can be used to better understand humanity as an organism connected biologically to a living breathing ecosystem. And secondly, to highlight the seemingly bi-polar relationship we have with bacteria. We take antibiotics as though they are candy and we over sanitize ourselves to the point of getting sick. Then we seek out probiotics to replace the bacteria we killed. This second issue is particularly timely considering all of the recent new hype surrounding superbugs.

By backing this project you will help me to ensure that this innovative and timely artistic medium doesn’t meet an untimely demise.

Copfer also notes,

This is a chance to be part of the beginning of a process that will most likely go down in art history textbooks.

And I don’t think he’s wrong about that!

Check out his Kickstarter and the amazing prizes. Chip in and help bacteria escape the lab.

My Favorite Scientist series, © Zachary Copfer.

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Glendon Mellow About the Author: Glendon Mellow is a fine artist, illustrator and tattoo designer working in oil and digital media based in Toronto, Canada. He tweets @FlyingTrilobite. You can see Glendon's work-in-progress at The Flying Trilobite blog and portfolio at www.glendonmellow.com. Follow on Twitter @symbiartic.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.





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