Glowing art grown from bacteria

Bacteria artist Zachery Copfer is creating glowing bacterial art that you can hang in your home.

(Credit: Zachery Copfer)

Bacteria artist Zachery Copfer is creating glowing bacterial art that you can hang in your home.

Germ art. It's a real thing. A very excellent real thing . And one of its practitioners, microbiologist Zachery Copfer, is now letting you buy his (what we have affectionately termed) bacteriart for your very own.

Copfer — who achieved a name for himself by combining bacteria with photo processing techniques to create " bacteriographs " of famous scientists — has launched a Kickstarter so that he can turn his vision to famous works of art. He aims to create seven pieces.

Bacteriograph of Charles Darwin.(Credit: Zachery Copfer)

The flagship piece is a glow-in-the-dark bacteriograph based on a transgenic piece of art created by Eduardo Kac, a rabbit called Alba he injected with bioluminescent genetic material to make it glow. Copfer's take is the Albasaurus, a glowing velociraptor-bunny hybrid.

The remaining six pieces will be a three-piece work depicting Carl Sagan; an interpretation of Klein Blue; and riffs on Damien Hirst, Jackson Pollock, René Magritte, Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein.

"This is a project to remake the following works of contemporary art in living bacteria," Copfer wrote. "The bacterial pieces will not only serve as a tongue and cheek commentary on the art world but will also raise questions about what it means to use science to create art."

To create the works, Copfer spreads agar in a Petri dish with bacteria, then places a negative over the top and zaps it with ultraviolet rays. The bacteria exposed to the rays die, leaving behind a bacterial photograph. After a couple of days, when the image has grown, Copfer preserves it in acrylic and resin. This means that none of the bacterial works shipped to backers will pose a biohazard, dead and sealed as they are.

Bacteriographs are available as rewards for a minimum pledge of US$100, although prints and cards are available for lower reward tiers. Head on over to the Masterpieces in Bacteria Kickstarter page to check them out.

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About the author

Michelle Starr is the tiger force at the core of all things. She also writes about cool stuff and apps as CNET Australia's Crave editor. But mostly the tiger force thing.

 

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