War Games/Game Theory: Nine Species

The map before incubation

The map before incubation

The map after incubation

The map after incubation

The blue pigmented bacterium produces a powerful antibiotic that prevents its territory being infiltrated by purple and red

The blue pigmented bacterium produces a powerful antibiotic that prevents its territory being infiltrated by purple and red

Yellow has been infiltrated by purple

Yellow has been infiltrated by purple

Blue defends its territory via the production of a powerful antibiotic but pink (bottom left) has been infiltrated by purple.

Blue defends its territory via the production of a powerful antibiotic but pink (middle left) has been infiltrated by purple.

Day2. Red and purple continue to take territories. Pink, yellow and orange overtaken. Blue has produced an effective exclusion zone (through antibiotic production)

Day2. Red and purple continue to take territories. Pink, yellow and orange overtaken. Blue has produced an effective exclusion zone (through antibiotic production)

Day2. Pink and yellow have been invaded by purple and completely overtaken

Day2. Pink and yellow have been invaded by purple and completely overtaken

Day2. Blue has produced an effective and antibiotic-based exclusion zone, protecting it against red

Day2. Blue has produced an effective and antibiotic-based exclusion zone, protecting it against red

Day 2. Are yellow and orange combining their activities to produce an exclusion zone?

Day 2. Are yellow and orange combining their activities to produce an exclusion zone?

 

“the microscope discovers, what motions, what tumult, what wars, what pursuits, what stratagems”  Samuel Taylor Coleridge

A new project inspired by the boardgames of my childhood, Risk, Campaign and Diplomacy,  and also the inherent properties of biology.  This is a coloured map on textile, but here and uniquely,  the paints are pigmented and living bacteria, which like the inanimate peices on a boardgame,  are capable of moving, killing and defending all to various degrees. The images here are of of the initial inoculation (each coloured patch represents a seperate bacterial species), and the map after incubation, and after its nature has been  changed dramatically as the bacteria became active, grew,  and interacted with each other.  The red and purple pigmented bacteria are agressive and spread to infiltrate certain other species. Blue adopts a defensive strategy and produces a powerful, and yet uncharacterized antibiotic,  that kills red and protects its own territory. I can’t help but feel that this map is a metaphor for our own species and wonder, as bacteria predated us in evolutionary terms, whether this activity is hardwired into our own biology.

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