BioART: Contemporary Art and the Life Sciences – Natalie Nadeau

Second hand doilies, Petri dishes, agar, bacteria, fungi, reconstructed lab table

Inheritance is a work compromised of five oversized Petri dishes, hosting bacteria and fungus covered doilies. Each second hand doily is submerged into an agar solution, which is the ‘culture medium’ that encourages bacterial and fungal growth. This process has been active for a number of months.

The crocheted doilies embody a strong and perhaps forgotten sense of domestic and social heritage; embedded in their social fabric are the individuals who once utilized the doilies for their intended purpose, as well as the artisans who purposefully crafted each one with the skills and knowledge learned from the past. By not sanitizing each doily prior to use, bacteria and fungus are able to inherit the thread of each crocheted motif, allowing a possible link to each doily’s historical ancestry. The collision of microorganisms with symmetrical domestic surface treatments reveals the ties between certain formations found in the colonies of bacteria and fungi and traditionally crocheted thread stitches. Each specimen is an investigation into generational lineage, geometric formation and unknown origins.

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