Methods, artistic and scientific

A couple of months ago I started trying to create some cool effects with chromogenic agar on cloth, inspired by Anna Dumitriu’s bioart. Not wanting to take up resources or paid time, I remember at 6pm embarking with glee upon my project, armed with past-expiry-date agar, and lab equipment discards, and exclaiming to myself “Oh Great! Now I’m doing Art, I can be free, and no longer shall I need to be careful and spend ages documenting!”.  (Anyone who has ever been with me in a lab will attribute to my almost pathological inability to follow slow, systematic instructions to the letter, and magnetic attraction to messing around…)


The first experiment worked wonderfully. I got some lovely results.And I tried again. Perhaps with the odd short-cut or two.. Disaster. No idea what went wrong, but looked completely different. I tried again, but with a slightly different method. It also didn’t work, but in a different way. Of course I had a well-documented lab-book so I knew exactly what differed from each time and why (NOT).  Cue me reviewing every step to work out what was going on, running controls for every step, until I eventually I had something that reliably worked, whilst writing it all down systematically.

If there is an all-powerful being up in the sky guiding my pootling through life, I imagine that at that moment they’d have been wearing an absolutely intolerably smug, self-satisfied grin.

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