Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Serratia: The Painter

Embellished Red Suction Cups 

Shower Curtain Rothko

 Self Portrait: a water colour by Serratia


Amongst the many bacteria that I work with,  the naturally occuring red pigmented bacterium Serratia marcescens, has the most unique and most stiking natural aesthetic . In the top two images, it has embellished the otherwise mundane fittings of a damp bathroom and in one case has produced an almost Rothkoesque image. When given watercolours, it will also paint. In the bottom image the red colour is made by many billions of bacterial cells of Serratia. The other colours are traditional  watercolours and the picture is made as Serratia has moved the watercolours around its medium so that in a sense it has painted.    

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Living On Vapours

Living on Vapours: A tenacious black mould grows on a chemical store at the University of Surrey. It looks similar to Baudoinia compniacensis ,the mould that thrives on alcohol fumes and consequently grows abundantly on whiskey distillery buildings. As the mould in the photographs  grows nowhere else on the campus, I'm guessing that it too is thriving on invisible fumes of the chemicals stored inside.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012


The Building That Listens: I came across this today, a building that has grown an ear. It drew me to Stelarc's work and as I photographed it I had a strong sense that this hybrid of concrete and biology was actually listeing to me. In reality, this is a perpetually wet area of the building and these conditions have supported the growth of a fungus. and its fruiting body

Obelisk Ecology. A complex microbial ecology on an otherwise lifeless obelisk made from slate. Birds have obviously used this as a perch and their nitrogenous faeces, and the run of from this, underpins this brittle crust of life.