Anna Dumitriu’s work blurs the boundaries between art and science with a strong interest in the ethical issues raised by emerging technologies. Her installations, interventions and performances use a range of digital, biological and traditional media including live bacteria, robotics, interactive media, and textiles. The Communicating Bacteria Project combines bioart, historical textile techniques and 3D mapped video projections to explore new research currently being undertaken in the field of bacterial communication, to engage a wide audience in the field and increase debate and understanding of this potentially new form of infection control.
This is her project, Normal Flora, whereby embroideries are worked in to by hand with delicately stitched images of bacteria and communications networks. Dumitriu’s modern stitches are far heavier handed than those of the original makers, creating an interesting juxtaposition. Additional patterns are created using a genetically modified strain of Chromobacterium violaceum calledCV026. Chromobacterium violaceum is white in its natural state but turns purple when it receives a communication, since bacteria grow in colonies and individual bacteria are continually sending and receiving signals it always appears purple. But the CV026 strain is effectively mute. It can receive a chemical communication signal but cannot send one, so it only turns purple in the presence of a communication from another bacterium. When exposed to unmodified Chromobacterium violaceum it slowly turns purple as the chemical signal spreads. I adore the delicacy and intricacy displayed within her work, really emphasising that bacteria CAN be beautiful!