"...Resources for colonies of bacteria to research a theory of everything, reconciling cosmic and quantum observations in their own bacterial way." -Jonathon Keats

Part of the Vast and Undetectable show at the San Francisco Art Commission Gallery is housing a unique school to study the universe. Jonathon Keats has created the Microbial Academy of Sciences, an installation of cyanobacteria given the opportunity to ponder the mysterious structure of the universe in their own microbial way.

There's humor here as well as philosophy. The press release itself is deslightful madness enough, but Keats has gone ahead and opened the Academy.

What could the bacteria possibly solve simply by having access to visuals of the cosmos? Though there's a biochemical response in the form pf photosynthesis to the flickering starlight, what accidental conclusions might bacteria infer? This is the brilliance of Keats' installation: the Microbial Academy of Sciences is asking us to examine our senses, our extended senses used for gathering data, and to see our own place in the universe we study.


Much of Jonathon's artwork displays this way of playing and teasing with the rigor and procedures of science. Looking in his gallery and through online searches, you can find images of Keats' The First Copernican Art Manifesto, an outline for art based on the average conditions of the universe ("Painting must have the average color of the universe. Let it be beige."); the self explanatory Prototype Universe Generator #1; and even porn for God using Large Hadron Collider imagery.

Fantastic, provocative science-art.

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If you're in the San Francisco area, you can see the group show Vast and Undetectable until April 14th 2012 at the San Francisco Arts Commission Gallery, directions here.

Jonathon Keats gallery at ModernismInc.com

Jonathon Keats on Wikipedia