We will be exhibiting 4 pieces by Theresa at our conference location Unicorn Wedding (here in Berlin).
Since moving here to work at Labiotech we’ve been getting to know the BioArt and biohacking community well. This is mostly through the Art Laboratory Berlin (the pit-stop for all well known artists visiting Germany), which is run by Christian de Lutz and Regine Rapp.
Through them we got in touch with Theresa, asking her to show some of her work at our conference.
I believe in the importance of art as a form of public engagement – an essential part of scientific research. There has also been a surge in popularity for Citizen science and art related to Synthetic biology.
For example, Theresa’s ‘somniferous observatory‘ (2011 – 14) is a photographic ensemble developed through her PhD research at Bauhaus University Weimar (Germany).
According to Theresa, the work is a reference or reenactment of the experiment by the German pharmacologist Peter Witt from the late 1940s (after a initial study by biologist Hans Peters). He investigated the influence of drugs on spiders when constructing webs (which is a well known experiment in internet culture).
Instead, Theresa investigated the behaviour of certain slime moulds which were cultured within flasks ranging from 100 to 1000ml.
She wanted to find out whether such substances which are mind-altering to us (when consumed) had any relation to the behaviour of the slime moulds when grown – i.e. whether there is a form of Microbial communication, or if the colonisation of the mould within the flask is random.
Microbial communication is a hot area of research at the moment, with topics such as bacterial quorum-sensing capturing the interest of BioArtists in particular (such as some of the work by Simon Park or Anna Dumitriu in the UK).