Normal Flora Project offers a physical embodiment of the interconnectedness of life through a deep examination of the rarely noticed everyday world of microbial life: the bacteria, moulds and yeasts that surround us and live both on and inside our bodies.
So called “Normal flora” microbiology is the study of the ubiquitous bacteria, moulds and yeasts that form an absolutely key part of the complex ecosystems we live constantly with: our bodies, our homes and our everyday world, and, of course, the wider planet. We are so closely linked to these minute life-forms that it is worth considering for a moment that more bacteria can be found on the end of an average fingertip than there are people actually living in the world; and several kilograms of our body weight are made up of bacterial symbionts. But these facts are not widely known. The word ‘bacterial’ is synonymous with dirt; the normal reaction to the suggestion that something is covered with bacteria is one of disgust but in fact less than 1% of bacteria are harmful to us and many are actually beneficial.
"Bed and Chair Flora" comprises a carved and changed found chair; the seat cover (hand stitched needlepoint) and the carving represent images of the bacteria that were cultured from the object originally. The ongoing collaborative crochet is based on transmission electron microscope images of bacteria from the artist’s own bed. Created in collaboration with Dr John Paul and lots of wonderful crocheters.
"Cutlery Flora" is a set of knives, forks and spoons which are laser engraved with images of the bacteria that Dumitriu cultured from clean cutlery in her kitchen drawer and represent clearly the ubiquitous of bacteria and how that contradicts the popular notion that it means unclean. The cutlery is useable. Created in collaboration with Dr John Paul.