“The MRSA Quilt” was created by embedding squares of cotton calico in chromogenic agar. This bacterial growth medium contains a dye that is taken up by Staphylococcus aureus bacteria, causing them to grow blue in colour and stain the calico. The patterns on the quilt squares are created using various tools and techniques in the treatment and diagnosis of infections caused by this bacterium and its drug resistant form, known as MRSA (Methicillin or Multi drug resistant Staphylococcus aureus). These patterns include stripes and polka dots created using antibiotic susceptibility tests, as well as embroideries made using thread dyed using natural antimicrobials such as turmeric or safflower. Dumitriu has led numerous participatory workshops, where members of the public can make their own DIY experiments with natural antimicrobials and bacteria to create quilt squares. Made in collaboration with Dr John Paul, Dr James Price, and biomedical scientist Kevin Cole.
Independent artist, Institute of Unnecessary Research, UK
Anna Dumitriu’s work is at the forefront of art and microbiology collaboration, with a strong interest in the ethical impact of emerging technologies. Her installations, interventions and performances use a range of digital, biological and traditional media including live bacteria, and are regularly exhibited internationally. She is Artist in Residence on the Modernising Medical Microbiology Project at The University of Oxford and won the 2012 Society for Applied Microbiology Communication Award. Her major Wellcome Trust funded project “The Romantic Disease: An Artistic Investigation of Tuberculosis” is currently on show at Art Laboratory Berlin as part of a solo retrospective.