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Bacterial World
updated by Laura Cinti - 13 Aug 2013


Bacterial World considers what happens when colonies grow uncurbed and offers an imaginative living map of the world that is both multi-layered and incorporates a critical metaphorical futuristic reflection

Howard Boland, Art from Synthetic Biology, University of Westminster, 2013
 

Howard Boland, 'Bacterial World', 2010
Bacterial World (2010), Art from Synthetic Biology, The Royal Institute of Great Britain, London, UK, April 2013

Bacterial World is an experimental display using the earth-like circular shape of petri dishes to produce a projection map. It attempts to use bacteria as living data to explore colony expansions as an analogue to human and technological expansion, colonisation and resource scarcity.

Howard Boland, 'Bacterial World', 2010
Bacterial World (2010), Art from Synthetic Biology, The Royal Institute of Great Britain, London, UK, April 2013

Early stages of the practice used the earth-like circular shape of petri dishes to create a standard projection map, in the experimental display Bacterial World  (2010).

Howard Boland, 'Bacterial World', 2010
Bacterial World (2010)

A printout from NASA showing the world at night with lights from cities and human habitation outlined the boundaries of land and ‘civilisation’. The printout was used as a template and city lights drawn by swabbing transformed E. coli expressing fluorescent proteins onto two plates containing ampicillin antibiotics. Visible colonies were generated within 10 hours and continued to double every 20 minutes.

Bacterial World, Howard Boland, 2010
Bacterial World (2010), Art from Synthetic Biology, The Royal Institute of Great Britain, London, UK, April 2013

Growth in bacteria becomes an analogue to human and technological expansion, colonisation, resource scarcity and scientific agendas of “feeding an ever-growing population”.

Bacterial World, Howard Boland, 2010
Bacterial World (2010)

E. coli, also referred to as ‘genetic workhorse’ of the 21st century, is routinely used in laboratories to serve scientific and social aims to alleviate human suffering and provide solutions to feed and maintain human population. Using the same organisms entrusted to alleviate burdens, we may paradoxically end up in the same ‘out of control’ scenario visualised in the work. 

 

Acknowledgements:

The work was conducted at the University of Westminster.

The work was featured live at Art from Synthetic Biology, UK’s first public exhibition featuring living genetically modified microorganisms at The Royal Institute of Great Britain in April 2013.

Sincerest gratitude to Dr Mark Clements.

The research is supported by a Doctoral Award from the Arts and Humanities Research Council and University of Westminster.

Other References: C-LAB:blog: Britt Wray of Fluxmedia visits C-LAB
C-LAB:blog: Cells alive n' counting
C-LAB:blog: Cellulose from bacteria
C-LAB:blog: Going solid: From Fungi to Mushroom
C-LAB:blog: Growing Magnetospirillium Gryphiswaldense
C-LAB:blog: It's here - the Spring 2012 iGEM library
C-LAB:blog: KatE in a Jar
C-LAB:blog: katE sees red with Red Fluorescent Protein (RFP)
C-LAB:blog: Red Fluorescent Protein
C-LAB:blog: Sludge Bacteria - one drop
C-LAB:blog: Stress light in growth & swarming behaviour
C-LAB:event: ART FROM SYNTHETIC BIOLOGY
C-LAB:event: ART-SCIENCE TALK
C-LAB:event: BIOART FORUM
C-LAB:event: CAGE RATTLING #1: KILL SWITCH
C-LAB:event: DO IT TOGETHER BIO #5: SYNTHETIC BIOLOGY ART
C-LAB:event: GRADUATE SCHOOL LAUNCH
C-LAB:event: INTO THE LABS
C-LAB:event: RE-NEW DIGITAL ARTS FESTIVAL
C-LAB:event: SYNTHETIC BIOLOGY SOCIETY KICK OFF EVENT
C-LAB:event: THE TWO CULTURES: VISUAL ART AND THE SCIENCES C.1800-2011
C-LAB:event: YOUNG SYNTHETIC BIOLOGISTS - YSB 1.0
C-LAB:experiment: Bacteria Compass
C-LAB:project: Bacterial Light Sensor
C-LAB:project: Bacterial World
C-LAB:project: katE - Visualising Stress
C-LAB:project: KatEred
C-LAB:project: Stress-o-stat
C-LAB:project: Sugar Rush
C-LAB:project: Transient Images
Overview
Year
2010
Status
completed
Group(s)
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