Untitled (Purple, White, and Red). Chromobacterium violaceum, Serratia marcescens, and Cloxacillin on Silk


A generative and  bacterial “Rothko” for the age of Antimicrobial Resistance. The red-pigmented bacterium Serratia marcescens and the purple-pigmented bacterium Chromobacterium violaceum were both inoculated onto silk (where the darker colours are) at opposite ends to each other. Initially confined to the site of their inoculation, both bacteria soon swarm through the silk material and colour it with their respective pigments as they infiltrate its fibres. The twist here is that there are also four,  at first invisible,  circles containing  the antibiotic Cloxacillin that are only revealed after the two bacteria encounter and then respond to this drug. Red is sensitive to the antibiotic, is thus is killed upon contact,  and cannot occupy the spaces impregnated with it (the white silk circles). On the other hand,  Purple is multiply antibiotic resistant and thus still thrives in the presence of Cloxacillin, occupying the antibiotic impregnated  silk where Red cannot.

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