Behold The Sea Itself

 

Interacting With The Sea Lens Projection

This work explores the anthropocene in the context of the changing and vital  chemistry of our oceans. Central to the process, is the notion that the chemical properties of pure water are universal and constant, and what gives natural water courses their identity, and what influences what else can live in them, exists within water and between the spaces of its polar molecules. In the process here, water, this universal and unchanging solvent, has been removed and the usually hidden chemistry concentrated and condensed into a thin glass-like lens. When light is passed through the lens, it becomes altered by this defining elemental signature, projecting it into our reality so that we may gaze upon it and interact with it.

The Sea Lens

The Sea Lens

 

A Projection Using The Sea Lens

A Projection Through The Sea Lens

A Projection Using The Sea Lens

A Projection Through The Sea Lens

‘If there is magic on this planet, it is contained in water’

‘If there is magic on this planet, it is contained in water’ Loren Eiseley, The Immense Journey (1957).

Tracks, and biological frequencies and wavelengths,  made by microbes in scant micro litre samples of many different natural waters. A national atlas of invisible microbiological life.

 

Blood Miracle: the infected page

In this work a page from a book has been deliberately wounded, and then infected with bacteria. In this context, it was cut with a scalpel,  then inoculated at the site of the lesion with the blood red pigmented bacterium Serratia marcescens, and finally placed onto bacteriological growth media. The bacteria used here are able to communicate with each other, collaborate in numbers to overcome obstacles to great for the few,  and can swarm and  move together in a coordinated manner through the paper of the page. The spreading lesion thus reveals an uncomfortable reality, that our world is dominated by invisible microbiological life. Moreover, the bacterium used here produces haemoglobin, the same oxygen transporting mammalian protein that colours blood red, and it thus harbours the evolutionary origin of our own blood.

 

I Am Legion: microbiomic tissue

In the works here, the contents of my gut microbiota have been separated away from other faecal material by filtration in order to purify its bacteria. To reveal the bacteria the samples are stained using the Gram stain which  reveals the bacteria of my microbiome.  The works invite the observer to consider the human microbiome as a complex and integrated human body tissue. Each tiny speck is a bacterial cell and one of the multitudes that I share my body with.

Inked: notes on garden gastropod molluscs, the anthropocene, and cellulytic bacteria

We accidentally left some spent wine bottles out in our garden, and through doing this, unintentionally provided a medium for its snails and slugs to modify. In eating the labels on the bottles our garden gastropod molluscs have edited their human narratives to produce there own art but at the same time they have also absorbed the anthropogenic materials present in the label’s inks. Do these human made materials persist in the faeces of the creatures or even colour it. The major source of nutrition in the paper of the labels will be cellulose, and to gain sustenance from it, the slugs and snails must degrade this resilient biopolymer. However, on their own they cannot do this and thus have to rely on symbiotic and cellulytic bacteria present in their guts. How do these react to the presence of the human made inks?

 

Just one damp night later the label on one of the bottles has been edited further and one of the “artists” is present (image below).

SL3

A Spectrum of Nine Waters

 

Water covers 70 per cent of the earth’s surface and is the solvent of life. The chemical properties of pure water however, are universal, defining, and unchanging. What then gives different natural water courses their unique identities, exists within water, and in-between the spaces of its polar molecules. This work explores these defining elemental signatures through a process that colorimetrically reveals one of the most important of these, the concentration of hydrogen ions present. When a pH indicator is added to the water samples, its colour changes according to concentration of hydrogen ions, and thus reveals this otherwise invisible yet defining chemical signature. The nine water samples in the image here range from those taken from Surrey’s acidic and tannic marsh waters (red), through neutral river waters (green), to the alkaline and clear waters of Hampshire’s famous chalk rivers (blue).

Of note here, there is also one seawater sample present which at the moment is distinctly alkaline (blue). However, with the oceanic acidification brought on by elevated atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration this water will become more acidic and its influence on sea-life and the pH indicator will inevitably change.

waters3Waters2Waters

BioBatik: the aesthetics of the emergence of antimicrobial resistance

This is a project that uses naturally pigmented bacteria, and their differential resistance to an antibiotic to generate colourful and autogenic designs on textiles. Similar to the Batik process, the antibiotic here, by killing the sensitive bacteria, acts as a resist.

In the first part of the project the sensitivities of two strains of bacteria to two antibiotics,  Cloxacillin and Kanamycin,  were investigated (see images below).

BioB1

Two paper letter shapes impregnated with the antibiotics Cloxacillin (C) and Kanamycin (K) on agar plates containing cultures of a red pigmented bacteria (Serratia marcescens) and a purple pigmented bacteria (Chromobacterium violaceum). The zones of inhibition reveal that red is sensitive to both C and K, whilst purple is resistant to C but sensitive to K.

 

BIoB2

Two paper letter shapes impregnated with the antibiotics Cloxacillin (C) and Kanamycin (K) on agar plates containing cultures of a red pigmented bacteria (Serratia marcescens) and a purple pigmented bacteria (Chromobacterium violaceum). The zones of inhibition reveal that red is sensitive to both C and K, whilst purple is resistant to C but sensitive to K. The distinct red colonies in the inhibition zone for red and C are mutants of red that have now become resistant to C.

 

To generate the BioBatiks, agar plates containing a concentration gradient of Cloxacillin were prepared, and these overlaid with cotton fabric (see image below).

CLOX

BioBatik. Agar plates containing a concentration gradient of Cloxacillin (C) were prepared (lowest concentration at the bottom), and these overlaid with cotton fabric (see image below). Red and purple were inoculated at the bottom and then begin to grown and move through the cotton, where the encounter ever increasing concentrations of C. Initially,  red is sensitive to C and stops growing and moving when it encounters the Minimum Inhibitory Concentration of C. On the other otherhand purple is resistant to C and continues to grow and move in ever higher concentrations of C.

 

Overtime, mutants of red that are resistant to C emerge, and these eventually move into and grow in the areas of higher C concentration giving a direct visualisation of the emergence of  antimicrobial resistance.