Homework for Week 7, Due March 8, Painting with Bacteria Lab

RESEARCH REFLECTION: After viewing these sites do you think bacteria might offer alternative dyeing methods that are less toxic? Are you inspired by this potential? What questions or concerns do you have? Based on your major and personal interests, conduct independent research on either the effects of 1) the fashion industry or 2) synthetic inks and paints on environmental systems. Summarize your research.

After reading all these sites, I began to have a very basic understanding of bacteria dyeing methods and I was inspired by this potential. The first site introduces that sound frequencies helped speed up pigment production. While the second site indicates that bacteria have been adapted before to help create the indigo dye used to color jeans. However, I was most attracted by the last site. It talks about the bacterial dyes in fashion. With the lack of history in using bacterial dyes, we could find out that using bacteria for dyeing clothing is being made right now. Scientists found out that same bacterial will create different kinds of color on the cloth due to the texture and placement of the fabric.The first way to dye the fabric was invented in 19th century—synthetic dyes. However it can be toxic and they pollute the environment, so they were no longer used and was replaced back by natural dyes. After, people found that plants that produce pigments require a lot of land and water, so they were not the good choice either. However, Streptomyces coelicolor is harmless and easy to grow so that people used this way to dye blue jeans and red scarfs a lot.

7) REFLECTION: Did this video change your perception of bacteria? What did you learn? Were you inspired by her art? Do you think bacteria might be a useful medium for art and design (why/why not)?

I love this video a lot although the Spanish accent is sometimes hard for me to understand. Eventually, this video changed my perception of bacteria. I learnt people can really paint on bacteria and the whole process of doing it. The bacteria cannot be explode in the air for a longtime therefore every steps she painted was in 5 to 10 seconds and the pen she used was heated by fire again and again. Meanwhile, different kinds of bacteria will create different colors. Within these ideas, the painting on bacteria will be more comprehensive and interesting. Moreover, she spent a lot of time doing Fine Art and the main inspiration of her art work was from the nature, that can also explain why her art work is relating to the nature. However, from my understanding, I do not think the technology now will let the bacteria be a useful medium for art and design as the bacteria cannot be explode in the air for a long time. However, painting is a thing that requires a lot of time. On the other hand, scientists are trying to make bacteria to dye the fabric and dye the jeans. In a nutshell, I think using bacteria as a medium for design is a good idea but they still need to be further developed.

9) RESEARCH REFLECTION: After viewing these links, what do you think of bacteria as an artistic media? Are you excited to try it yourself? Do you sense a difference in color (more variation etc.) between what is found naturally in bacteria, as opposed to synthetic colors? Consider our class discussions on Long Life Design. How might painting with bacteria relate to this theme?

Personally, I think bacteria as an artistic media is a way to express the art work in a unique way. More deeply, Using bacteria as a media sometimes will reflect the art work better when the material is related to the art work theme. I am very excited to try painting with bacteria as I always want to try new things. Moreover, with the time changing, the bacteria itself will change the form, color, and shape, and these changes will lead to the change of the artwork. Therefore, the art work is not still anymore, it will show different aspects to the viewers as the time goes by. This is the difference that a synthetic colors will never reach. When thinking of the Long Life Design, painting with synthetic colors requires a lot of limited resource on the earth and it is a kind of waste. However, while painting with bacteria, the cost goes lower. More importantly, people be more aware of the nature and the sustainable life and the art work will appeal people’s emotion of protect the environment.


– Why these designs? How does it relate to themes of our class and your work at Parsons?

I did these pieces all related to the nature. In Parsons, I have been taught to create the art pieces with the sustainable life theme a lot of times, and this time, I want to use the painting of nature to appeal people’s emotion of protect the environment

– Are there particular artworks, methods, or artists that influenced your choice?

I was inspired by the video and the pieces was also inspired by the nature.

How does the medium influence your design choice?  What kind of image would you like to make with bacteria and why?

While thinking of using medium of bacteria, I want to focus more on the line and shape, less on the colors as the it is a difficult to paint on these tiny circles. I want to paint a circle with jelly fish, as the pink or blue color will make the whole painting more mysterious; another object I want to paint is tree as this is the object can represent the nature. Moreover, I want to create a piece with a lot of smiling flowers as I want to play with the pattern.

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