Microbes and art: teeth, a book, STEAM, and old poop

Microbe Mouth

Mouths & their Microbiomes Grow in this London Bioart Exhibit – Art by Anna Dumitriu – Labiotech
Microbe Mouth by Melissa Grant, Rachel Sammons, and Anna Dumitriu – London Science Gallery

More work from the great Anna Dumitriu, who often uses the human microbiome as the inspiration or even material for her art. For this new exhibition, Anna worked together with a biochemist and a microbiologist to coat ceramic teeth with different bacteria.

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“Microbe Mouth” by Melissa Grant, Rachel Sammons, and Anna Dumitriu

The Routledge Companion to Biology in Art and Architecture – Charissa N. Terranova and Meredith Tromble – Google Books

A new book, not yet released, and it will cost a whopping $240, but you can preview some of the pages on Google Books.

“The Routledge Companion to Biology in Art and Architecture collects thirty essays from a transdisciplinary array of experts on biology in art and architecture. The book presents a diversity of hybrid art-and-science thinking, revealing how science and culture are interwoven. The book situates bioart and bioarchitecture within an expanded field of biology in art, architecture, and design. It proposes an emergent field of biocreativity and outlines its historical and theoretical foundations from the perspective of artists, architects, designers, scientists, historians, and theoreticians. Includes over 150 black and white images.”

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Book cover, detail

Students being taught New STEAM concept which mixes science and maths with art – Patrice Dougan – NZ Herald

STEAM, the acronym for  science, technology, engineering, art, and maths, is a program that hopes to break down gender barriers in the field. Microbiologist Dr Siouxsie Wiles and nanomechanical engineer Dr Michelle Dickinson are enthusiastic advocates for the program.

“Lots of people didn’t think I was a scientist because I didn’t look or behave like they expected me to behave. And I spend a lot of time going into schools and sort of saying, ‘I’m a scientist’, and showing pictures of scientists being creative and they’re playing in bands and all that kind of stuff,” she said.

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Dr. Siouxsie Wiles, microbiologist

Artist’s 46-year-old loo paper to be studied – Jamie Morton – NZ Herald

When artist Billy Apple opened his exhibition Body Activities at the Serpentine Gallery in London, in 1974, authorities were shocked. The art featured tissues soiled by the artist with …. “bodily excrements”. Apple had to take the exhibition down. Fortunately, he kept all the tissues, including the ones with his stool samples. These old artefacts now provide a unique opportunity to study how the human gut microbiome changes over 50 years. Mr. Apple is now working together with Dr Justin O’Sullivan of the Liggins Institute at Auckland University in New Zealand. The lab will compare Mr. Apple’s old stool samples to his current samples, to see if his gut microbiome has changed a lot over the years.

“This project provides us with a new avenue through which we can expose a different audience to the scientific advances that are changing our understanding of ourselves – as walking, talking ecosystems.

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