“There shall be in that rich dust a richer dust concealed”
Where it is left to settle and left undisturbed, dust will form an informative yet fragile grey stratum. If they avoid the gaze of the avid cleaner, these deposits can be ancient and being made mostly of shed human skin, animal dander, and microfabric fibres, a layer of dust, like sedimentary rock, can hold a fragile record of life, passage and occupation. Here I have collected dust samples from neglected and overlooked corners and crannies from buildings and examined these under a microscope so that each sample came to reveal its own unique story. I like to think of these as microscopic sagas that settled directly from the air itself, long after their participants had left the scene, and in the ensuing silence, the room’s atmosphere had stilled to allow this to happen.
As one might expect there are significant differences between dust collected from indoor environments and that from the outside. Inside dust is mixture of human skin keratinocytes and fabric micro fibres, whereas that collected from the outside is mostly made of microorgansisms, biological debris and spores.