A unique live installation and exhibition displaying people and objects photographed using the natural light emitted by certain strains of bacteria.
Bioluminescent bacteria are widely used in scientific research, usually as internal markers. By inverting this practice and employing bacteria as an external light source, objects and bodies, surfaces and skin are exposed to the soft ethereal glow of the bacteria, establishing new points of contact and visual punctures.
The project is a collaboration between artist Anne Brodie, microbiologist Dr Simon Park and curator Dr Caterina Albano. It is funded by an Engaging Science Arts Award from the Wellcome Trust.
Using a strain of bioluminescent bacteria called Photobacterium phosphoreum, the team has produced a series of portraits of objects, including some of Joseph Lister's personal papers.
Lister was an early pioneer of the use of antiseptics in surgery and the connection between bacteria and infections, together with the modern application in biomedical research of the bacterial genes responsible for emitting light, made it particularly fitting that bacteria should help to shed light â€“ quite literally â€“ on Lister's lesser known personal life and work.
Among his papers, held at the Wellcome Library, are personal letters, childhood sketchbooks and scientific notebooks.
The project culminates in a live installation of work, transiently and organically illuminating the herb garret for one night only on Thursday 3 December, and human photographic projections onto the ancient operating table until 7 December.
On 8 December the team will give a talk about their work.
Related website: bioproject.tumblr.com