Bioart and Bacteria - The Artwork of Anna Dumitriu

The Romantic Disease   Sequence   Modernising Medical Microbiology   Super-organism   Germ Theory   Oxford University Exhibition   Communicating Bacteria   Infective Textiles   Hypersymbiont Salon   Hypersymbiont Dress   The Art and Science of Linen   Normal Flora   Cybernetic Bacteria   Cybernetic Bacteria 2.0   BioReactor   KryoLab   Gone Viral Exhibition   Workshops   Talks   Publications   Books   Biography/Contact   

Anna Dumitriu is an artist whose work blurs the boundaries between art and science with a strong interest in microbiology and 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 technologies, and textiles. See links to projects above.
Infective Textiles

As part of “Laboratory Life”, a project curated by The Arts Catalyst, Lighthouse and Andy Gracie, Anna Dumitriu led  a group of artists, doctors and scientists to develop a textile-based artwork taking the form of a Regency style dress stained with bacterial pigments and patterned by antibiotics. Their work used ‘garage science’ methods and ‘DIY’ microbiological processes to explore the notion of infection control. During the lab they cultured microbes from the local environment including soil, buildings and other public places. They then stained silk thread with natural and clinical antibiotics – including cloves, turmeric, green tea and Vancomycin – and used them to create embroidered patterns (based on microscopic images of bacteria and historic Regency designs) on fabric. The dress was then placed in a ‘giant petri dish’ filled with DIY culture media made from supermarket products, upon which environmental bacteria, selected on the basis of the attractive natural pigments they were producing (burnt oranges, rose pinks etc), were grown.  Their exhibition featured the Regency style dress, which was been pasteurized so that the bacteria are no longer living, video documentation of their project, framed works (which show slides of cultured bacteria and moulds, Gram’s stain paintings embroidered with antibiotic threads and drawings made by visitors to the lab) and a table of items used in their lab. Thanks to Dr John Paul, Dr Simon Park, Dr James Price and Alex May for their invaluable assistance and inspiration with this project. The Infective Textiles project was led by Anna Dumitriu and made in collaboration with Melissa Grant, Brian Degger, Rosie Sedgwick and Sarah Roberts.


Laboratory Life: an art-science production laboratory & exhibition, March 2011, Lighthouse, 28 Kensington St, Brighton BN1 4AJ as part of Brighton Science Festival and at “Art and Medicine” at Brighton and Sussex Medical School in May 2011.

Microwave Festival in Hong Kong “Transitions: Knowledge Through Performance in Art and Science”, The Institute for Advanced Study, Delmenhorst, Germany, October 2012, curated by Timothy J Senior.

"Gone Viral: Medical Science in Contemporary Textile Art”, The Rockefeller Arts Centre, State University of New York, New York, March 2013, curated Leesa Rittelmann.

Hybrid Skins" at TETEM, Enschede, Netherlands, October-November 2013, curated by Melissa Coleman. Image below copyright Cyril Wermers.

"Laboratory Life" also featured DNA tattooing, astrobiology, micro-biological textiles and much more.  It showcased the work created by renowned international artists and scientists who transformed Lighthouse into a publicly accessible  laboratory. The exhibition featured work by Andy Gracie, Adam Zaretsky, Kira O’Reilly, Bruce Gilchrist, and Anna Dumitriu, made in collaboration with scientists and the participants of the open laboratory. Laboratory Life was organised by Lighthouse and The Arts Catalyst, with support from the Wellcome Trust. It was conceived by artist Andy Gracie, based on the Interactivos? model developed by the Media Lab Prado in Madrid.