Life Saturation

 

I’ve developed a novel process that rather than just recording micro-videos in real-time, records instead the paths taken by microscopic creatures under the microscope. The images generated, result from the accumulation of the activity tracks of these usually invisible life forms and reveal the hugely complicated dynamic of their manifold activities and interactions. The process generates images that are in some sense similar to those of radioactive decay, or atomic particle collisions, as they are seen using cloud chambers.

The process reveals another level of reality that is usually withheld from us, and it seems that our world vibrates to these invisible wavelengths and frequencies. The other striking revelation, is the amount of life and activity, and even at this microscopic level our planet is saturated with life.

A sample of water in realtime (below).

Long exposure stills which reveal the tracks made by microbes (below).

Taken with NightCap Pro. Light Trails mode, 63.57 second exposure.

63.57 second exposure.

Taken with NightCap Pro. Light Trails mode, 39.72 second exposure.

39.72 second exposure.

Taken with NightCap Pro. Light Trails mode, 144.17 second exposure.

144.17 second exposure.

Taken with NightCap Pro. Light Trails mode, 62.91 second exposure.

62.91 second exposure.

 

 

Hybrid Textiles

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Helion 14, is a unique and living BioMaterial made from little more than sunlight and air. Its basis is a type of autotrophic photosynthetic bacterium called a cyanobacterium. This particular type of cyanobacterium grows in the form of  filaments which have a unique and “intelligent” self-weaving activity.

I am exploring currently exploring Helion 14  with conceptual women’s wear designer Victoria Geaney (Royal College of Art). Entitled Oscillatoria Sutured,  our work will be in an exhibition curated by Biofaction called Possible Tomorrows which will take place at Vienna Design Week (30 Sept-09 Oct).

We are currently characterising this  exciting and unique biomaterial as it forms symbiotic relationships with traditional and natural textiles. As it grows on these textiles. the organism not only infiltrates the fabric fibres,  but  it also fills in the small holes in the material with its own designs and embellishments.

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A cotton/Cyanobacterium hybrid biomaterial. The bacterium infiltrates the textile (left) and then moves from the manmade textile and spreads over the surfaces beyond this so that it’s difficult to determine where the manmade material ends and the purely biological organism begins.

 

When the same biomaterial is viewed under the microscope, it can be seen that the cyanobacterium has also filled in some of the minute holes in the textile, adding its own designs and embellishments to the material (see below).

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A similar phenomenon is observed using cotton with square-shaped small holes (see below)

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The Cyanobacterium/cotton hybrid with no magnification.

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The Cyanobacterium/cotton hybrid with 10x magnification.

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The Cyanobacterium/cotton hybrid with 20x magnification.

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The Cyanobacterium/cotton hybrid with 40x magnification.

British Summertime (Visions In Infrared)

Infrared imaging in the garden. Flowers and plants. Ferns, Inula, Nasturtiums, and also two bees (below)

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The bright yellow spot towards the centre of the flower is a “hot” bee. 

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The bright yellow spot towards the centre of the  top flower is a “hot” bee. N3NasturtiumNastutium2

 

Infrared imaging of the Summer sky. The small bright dots are birds in flight whose warm and feathered bodies contrast the cold and inimical environment of space (below).

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House Martin

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House Martin

Pigeon

Pigeon

The CocoDish: a natural, sustainable, and reusable vessel for culturing bacteria

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When I began to study microbiology some 30 years ago we used to use a lot of reusable glassware. For example, Glass Petri Dishes, Universal Bottles, Bijous, McCartney Bottles, Pasteur Pipettes, Glass pipettes and Glass Spreaders. We also used to use metal loops for sub-culturing and again these could be sterilised and then reused by passing then through the flame of a Bunsen Burner. Today, much of the above has been replaced by plastic consumables, which are used just once before disposal, and thus microbiology has become a very wasteful scientific practice. Moreover, microbiology is not alone here, and many other biological sciences use vast amounts of disposable plastic laboratory ware.

 

As a challenge to this wasteful practice and to bring it to light as a problem in terms of sustainability, I’ve developed the CocoDish, a sustainable, reusable and entirely natural vessel for culturing bacteria based on the Coconut. As proof of utility here is a CocoDish containing Kitchen Bioluminescent Agar (KBA) and a culture of the bioluminescent bacterium Photobacterium phosphoreum HB (in light and in the dark). No need for plastic! Could also be used in locations where plastic Petri dishes are difficult to source.

Empty CocoDishes below

 

 

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A CocoDish filled with bacteriological agar. It fits beautifully into the hand, and unlike its plastic counterpart, has a wonderful warm, rustic, and organic feel.

 

Below, a CocoDish with a culture of the bioluminescent bacterium Photobacterium phosphoreum HB. imaged in the dark (left) and in light (right).

 

 

Satellites of Summer

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At this time of year, every evening, House Martins gather in the sky above our house. For over 25 years they have provided the soundtrack of our Summers. As the sun sets, and as they pitch and turn, they occasionally catch its light so that their white markings flare like ephemeral satellites against the darkening sky.

These are the tracks that they make above our house. We also have a young House Martin family that live in a muddy home attached to ours.

 

Taken with NightCap Pro. Light Trails mode, 14.99 second exposure.

14.99 second exposure.

Taken with NightCap Pro. Light Trails mode, 23.17 second exposure.

23.17 second exposure.

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