We live in a biological world completely surrounded by rich communities of micro-organisms, but often in a cultural world that emphasizes total antisepsis. The bacteria on our skin and in our gut are crucial to keeping us healthy, but microbes often remain invisible until something goes wrong. Intitiatives such as the Human Microbiome Project, the Belly Button Biodiversity project, the Bioweathermap, and the Microbiology of the Built Environment Network seek to sequence the super-genome around us, to catalog the bacteria of our bodies and our environment.
Bacterially.org has related and parallel aims to these cataloging projects. We seek to isolate, classify, and characterize microbes from the human skin, to better understand the ecosystem of the human body, to explore the connections between our bodies and our food, and to create microbial communities with new properties. Through exploration of the human microbiome and its connection to our lives we aim to promote acceptance of the microbial world and to explore new avenues for design.
This project is a continuation of work done with Synthetic Aesthetics, a collaboration between synthetic biologist Christina Agapakis and smell researcher Sissel Tolaas. We are fascinated by how microbes work together with one another and with the human body to produce chemicals and odors, and we explore these ecosystems as artists and as scientists, dissecting and analyzing as well as synthesizing and re-creating.
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