If you imagine the soil in its vast complexity as a microbial superorganism, then these might be biopsies that have been taken from it and grown like human cells in tissue culture in the laboratory.
Soil is the matrix upon which all terrestrial life depends and one of its most vital components are the many billions of bacteria that live within it. For this work, I developed a novel process which allows this normally invisible bacterial community that unerpins all terrestrial life and civilisation, to become visible. Here this massively complex community emerges from small droplets of soil from various sites and becomes visible through its own activity (the complex community is revealed through the use of specially selected chromogen which is colourless until the soil bacteria interact with it to produce a fluorescent compound which glows upon exposure to ultraviolet light). The patterns arise as the normally invisible microbial communities emerge from the soil and colonise the agar surface. Each soil sample produces a unique pattern or glyph.