Any discussion about a certain bacteria usually seems to be one-sided, with the immediate questions being something like “How scared should we be?” and “How can we avoid it?” Unfortunately media coverage often gives bacteria a bad rap, when in reality less than 1% of all bacteria is harmful to us. In fact, 100 trillion of the bacteria found on and in our bodies is either helpful or symbiotically necessary for our survival. Hoping to demystify the word ‘bacteria’ through her various aesthetically-pleasing yet initially terrifying textile installations, UK artist Anna Dumitriu has sewn different types of thoroughly sterilized bacteria into her artwork.
In her latest exhibit titled “Germ Theory“, Dumitriu collaborated with several microbiologists to design textiles that explore the coevolution of bacteria with the antibiotics designed to treat them (see details and pictures in the galleries below).
Dumitriu’s larger goal is to add philosophical and cultural perspectives to the discussion of bacteria and the treatment of disease. She hopes to de-stigmatize the term ‘bacteria’ while reminding us to also examine the root practices and conditions in which illness spreads in hospitals, nursing homes, and other crowded areas where immune systems are more susceptible.