At what time does the phenomenon of life appear in the universe? Will its memory and formation be as old as the creation of matter itself? Microscopic life is presented as evidence of the complexity of the universe, it evolves in infinite forms, patterns and interaction cycles between different species and kingdoms, translated into colors, shapes and textures, which can be compared to galaxies, constellations, planets, worlds. MICROuniverses explores these consonances between microorganisms and the cosmos through the collection, cultivation and conservation of microuniverses in petri dishes, mixing microbiology techniques and artistic media.
This artistic-scientific creation project was developed from the strict confinement caused by the pandemic in 2020. Days before the confinement I bought microbiology laboratory materials with the intention of experimenting at home, I gathered and ordered all the materials in a carry-on suitcase and instruments to prepare culture media, which I called “Portablelab”, and I did a first homemade experiment. I went out to the street that afternoon to collect samples in the public space, on a tour of Madrid from the Reina Sofia Museum to Madrid Rio. Then I cultivated them in an incubator taking photographs and videos during the process of development and growth of the microorganisms of those places.
Microuniverses. Exhibition at Complutense University of Madrid.
MICROuniverses was part of the collective exhibition EXPODOC 2022 of the Faculty of Art of the Complutense University of Madrid. An installation was made from 12 of the Petri dishes with the cultures preserved in resin that had been collected in the MICROuniverses interventions in the cities of Bogotá, Bergen and Madrid.
The preservation process of the culture media with the colonies of microorganisms that grew in them was carried out using epoxy resin on the medium, duly sealed with varnishes on the surface without microorganisms in order to avoid the spread of dyes on the resin.
This makes it possible to maintain cellular, micellar and colonial structures of bacteria, without affecting delicate tissues such as, for example, the filaments of molds. Although slight variations in color occur, such as white mycelia turning brown over time, this technique allows for true record keeping of Petri dishes and their display without biohazards.
Microuniverses. «A space-time journey through the microscopic life of the air»
Half-length film in dome format. July-December 2021.
Microuniversos Bergen 2020
Quarantine Residence. Piksel Festival. Bergen, Norway. November 2020.
As a result of the mandatory 10-day quarantine for entering Norway during the Covid-19 pandemic, the Piksel Festival called for projects to do a creation residency. For this purpose, and taking into account the conditions of the space, I brought to this residence a suitcase (Portable-Lab) with the necessary instruments for the cultivation and observation of microorganisms at home. During that time I was experimenting with different microorganism culture media in petri dishes using organic kitchen waste, making different combinations that varied according to the dishes I prepared for myself. These media were exposed to the atmosphere (air, humidity) of the neighborhood around my residence, seeking to make the microorganisms around me visible and their microscopic richness evident.
Each petri dish revealed a unique and changing microscopic landscape (microuniverse), images painted from the complex cellular structures and biological interactions. Photographs of the growth process were taken, and the best photos were used in a high resolution video where the images were mixed. This video was presented during the festival on the facades of buildings in the city of Bergen, in large format. Also, using fine art techniques, cell structures, colonies, and micelles visible in the petri dishes were preserved as part of the results display at the Piksel Studio.
Residency/quarantine process with the Portable-lab
Projection on church facade in Bergen
Exhibition of microuniverses at Piksel Studio
A|Cerca Del Origen 2020
Online Exhibition. Festival Suratómica. Colombia.
Microuniverses approaches questions about the origin from organic life interpreted as memory of the universe. It raises questions about the limits of what we call alive, as forms of being that replicate and evolve in the universe at all levels. Both the telescope and the microscope have been tools used by science, and have allowed us to review the existence of universes hidden from the naked eye. In both cases they have allowed us to approach unimaginable beings through the generation of images: such as that of a black hole or a constellation or a congregation of galaxies or a colony of microorganisms, bacteria, fungi and yeasts. The momentary and unique biological interactions that occur inside these petri dishes generate a framework of structures and shapes that resemble images in the telescope, opening a cycle of possibilities for speculation on the borders and similarities between the micro and the macro. Astrobiology establishes an experimental field where Microuniverses Bogotá sought to intersect perceptual levels of the scales of the universe and its relationship with the origin where in microorganisms and their complex colonies there is evidence of a negative entropy that we see present in the transmutation of matter and it reveals itself in forms with an order, from the spontaneity and veracity of the invisible life that surrounds us.
El proyecto microuniversos comienza días antes del confinamiento estricto de la pandemia del covid-19 con la eleaboración de un laboratorio portátil de microbiología en una maleta de mano. Reuní y ordené en una maleta de mano todos los materiales e instrumentos necesarios para preparar medios de cultivo (a la cual llamé “Portablelab”).