Microbial Masterpieces is a continuously evolving project devoted to helping people understand the importance of the microbial world.
Created by Erica Gardner, Anna Urso, and Bruna Sanches, it was the winner of the 2020-21 Experiments in Translation Grant, funded by ArtsEngine and the Duderstadt Center.
Microbial Masterpieces features a 48” x 36” Winogradsky Panel - a device for culturing a variety of microorganisms. As the microorganisms in the enclosed ecosystem metabolize, they create geochemical gradients inside the panel, which often creates different colors, making the panel a dynamic art piece.
You can follow the progress of the Winogradsky Panel at the Microbial Masterpieces website: https://sites.google.com/umich.edu/microbialmasterpieces. Or create your own panel or column using the DIY videos!
Our panel was set up December 18, 2020. Due to the large size of the panel, it might take a while to start seeing larger areas of color, but we are already seeing evidence of green photosynthesizers and orange iron-oxidizing bacteria and little specks of green, orange, and purple.
Art can be a great way to bring attention to the importance of science, as well as the other way around. Microbial Masterpieces features scientist and artist spotlights on the website as well as on the instagram page: @microbialmasterpieces.
Tactile versions of the panel progress (ready to be 3D printed) can also be downloaded from the website. The team is also currently working on Sonifying the panel and creating an interactive soundscape that will make experiencing the panel progress more accessible and enhanced.
You can learn more about Winogradsky Panels, the importance of microbes, and the intersection of art and science on the Microbial Masterpieces website and social media!