This major solo exhibition by Anna Dumitriu, artist in residence on the UK Clinical Research Consortium Modernising Medical Microbiology Project based at the University of Oxford, blurred the boundaries between art, textile crafts, and science. It used a range of digital, biological and traditional media including live bacteria, projections and textiles, and took place at the Barn Gallery in Oxford.
The exhibition features an indigo blue patchwork quilt stained with MRSA bacteria grown on chromogenic agar and patterned with clinical antibiotics and other tools in the research and treatment of this disease, a dress patterned with pigments from environmental bacteria and embroideries stained with natural antibiotic compounds, a large-scale participatory crochet based on the bacteria from the artist’s own bed, and a Whitework embroidered lab coat patterned with images of bacteria and moulds found on it. There is also new series of works investigating the emerging field of bacterial communication including a dress stained and video mapped with bacteria in the process of sending chemical communication signals and a video artwork investigating the important role of bacteria in the production of linen. All the works, made in collaboration with scientific experts, have been made sterile prior to exhibition. ‘Normal Flora’ is the name given to the ubiquitous microbes that we co-exist with in our everyday lives.
Thanks to collaborators: Dr John Paul, Dr Simon Park and Alex May for “Communicating Bacteria”, Dr John Paul, Dr James Price and Rosie Sedgwick for “MRSA Quilt”, Alex May and Dr John Paul for “The Art and Science of Linen”, Dr John Paul, Dr John Paul, Dr Melissa Grant, Rosie Sedgwick, Dr Brian Degger and Sarah Roberts for “Infective Textiles”
Funders: The Wellcome Trust Arts Grants for “Communicating Bacteria” & “Infective Textiles” and The Leverhulme Trust Artist in Residence programme for “Modernising Medical Microbiology Residency. Thanks also to St John’s College, University of Oxford for their support for the exhibition and related events programme.
See normalflora.co.uk for more information.