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Microbiology and Art - Art (Nov/23/2010 )


I'm new around here, so let me first introduce myself. My name is Simen Musaeus, I have a background in digital animation and design, and now I study fine-arts at the Berlin University of Arts.

I'm currently occupied with an installation project, in which I among other things I wish to explore usage of microorganisms and microorganisms with the ability to change their own environment.

So far I have only a limited knowledge of microbiology and bacteriology, so first time around this concerns research of possibilities and eventual limitations.

Primarily am I in a search for microorganisms with interesting attributes, preferably with a strong visual character. Keyword could be: Colorful, Pattern-forming, Bioluminecens, Shape-forming, Fast-growning. Possibly also with dynamic relationships occurring when interacting with multiple other forms of microorganisms. I think this is where the community could be of most help, as it sits of a massive body of knowledge, concerning what has been uncovered of the microbiological realm.

I also need to form a ruff overview of how to work with microorganisms. My intuition tells me that that's very species specific. So I guess here the best help would be references to good learning-material on the general/basic treatment and cultivation of microorganisms. Possibly also advice or tips.

I hope that this research project would give me an overview of the possibilities microorganisms has to offer, seen from an artistic perspective. Much of my artistic work is oriented around systems and dynamics, and I find most of my inspiration in various scientific fields. Microbiology represents a new field for me, which makes it just even more exciting!

All help is truly appreciated.



Hi there,
Some of what you are saying has already been done. So, I suppose you would be advised to first check what is already described and decide for yourself if you want to do something similar but with your own twist or something completely new. I know that a few years ago one of the iGEM teams made a bacterial photo development system, where bacteria grew on a support so that the end result was like a black and white photo. There are also a number of different glow in the dark, fluorescent platforms, even with mammals (you can check for example Eduardo Kac). It's difficult (at least for me) to tell you anything, because your question was very broad and there are a million possibilities. You can check the book: Heritage microbiology and science: microbes, monuments and maritime materials, specifically chapter Microbiology and Art: An Education Opportunity.
Perhaps other people can give better ideas.


BioMiha, this is great input!

As I mentioned, this is research. I will later gather the information and specify exactly what I intend to do.

All kind of random references helps expanding my perspective on the possibilities!

I want more more more! :D


And here’s more, more, more….:P

Hi Simen and welcome to Bioforum....where art and science sometimes meet...
So you want to venture into BioArt? That’s great. You probably have already checked outExploratorium. Also plenty of info, resources and links from the ASCI org(Art & Sciences Collaboration, Inc) as well as Leonardo, the International Society for the Arts, Science and Technology. Lots of cool stuff in the bio.display projectof The Arts and Genome Center , Universiteit Leiden.

You can also check out the works of some of the pioneers (as BioMiha mentioned): the “transgenic” artist Edouardo Kacwhose GFP bunny became the icon of this movement; Joe Davis and his Genesthetics; Catts and Zurr of SymbioticA, the artistic laboratory at The UWA.

A few of the more visible artists these days:

- Hunter Cole’s time-lined drawings using bioluminescent bacteria;
-Heather Barnett’s and other talented artists’ images and expts in the slime mould collective
- Anna Dimitriu’s Biotrackingand The Normal Flora Projec
- Simon Park’smicrobial art

And if you still want more,more... I can post them later :)…..…..and if you want to have more discussion about this melding of art, science and technology, the ethical issues involved in this cross-over….you can start one in the philosophy subforum….and meanwhile, happy exploring…


You might also want to check out Dennis Kunkel's collection of microscopy images.


Don't forget the music.
Here is a website with many links...


i can't but thank you for all these links :)
they are just exciting ...