More microbial art.

As I mentioned in my previous post, my students and I have been experimenting with creating art from living colonies of bacteria:

I don’t think this is a common art form (though it’s one I want to explore in more detail down the road), but I am aware of a few other very intriguing examples of similar things.  For example, here are some of the stunning bacteria images by Dr. Eshel Ben-Jacob:

See more of Dr. Ben-Jacob’s artwork.

And here are some using fungi and bacteria by Dr. Niall Hamilton:

See more of Dr. Hamilton’s artwork.

And, of course, this famous image by Dr. Roger Tsien, who won a Nobel Prize for his work on green fluorescent protein:

Or these reconstructed ancestral coral pigments spliced into bacteria by Dr. Mikhail Maltz:


And some “photography” with genetically engineered bacteria by Dr. Chris Voigt:


In addition to working with actual bacteria and fungi, there are amazing works of art that depict microbes, such as the bacteria and viruses by Luke Jerram:


See more Glass Microbiology by Luke Jerram.

If you know of other examples of microbial art, please share.

Evolution and art.

From Oct. 9-30, the University of Guelph and Ed Video are hosting a special art exhibit entitled “This View of Life: Evolutionary Art for the Year of Darwin“. It was organized by professors in four departments: Integrative Biology, Philosophy, History, and English and Theatre Studies, and was curated by Scott McGovern of Ed Video. The exhibit features art by 10 artists, all inspired by the themes of evolution, Darwin, and biodiversity. The Gregory Lab contributed some installations as well, which are shown in this brief clip from just before the opening reception on Oct. 16 (about 200 people attended the event). The first window shows live Daphnia magna (“water fleas”) to depict the concept of overproduction; they also are of interest because they reproduce asexually (the evolution of sexual reproduction being an important question in evolutionary theory). The second window presents images created using live colonies of E. coli bacteria. These last only a few days, so many different images will be displayed throughout the exhibit. The third window shows a projection of a remarkable collection of images of bacterial colonies kindly provided by Dr. Eshel Ben-Jacob.

Here are some more photos of the artwork:


Special thanks to everyone involved in organizing the exhibit, to the artists, and to the following graduate students who are talented artists in their own right: Joao Lima, John Wilson, Tyler Elliott, Paola Pierossi, Nick Jeffery.