From several studies about environmental damage, we can unfortunatly say that we are facing the (sixth) massive extintion – the loss of about three quarters of all species in existence across the entire Earth over a “short” geological period of time. During the last decades we are facing different environmental catastrophes such as tornadoes, earthquakes, floods, extreme weather conditions in different areas on the planet, where it should not happen under normal circumstances. Due to the situation, mostly the most resistant species and invasive species can only survive, those which can easily adapt to different biodiversity. The consequences of expansion of invasive species can affect the entire ecosystem, and after a period, it can be out of balance and force other species to vanish.
In this project I am putting the human race as an invasive species, incorporating with micro species such as bacteria. The project HELP is based on an experiment with cultivated biomaterial – microbial cellulose. The visual appearance of the material that resembles the human skin, which is also rich in certain types of bacteria. Due to various external injuries, the wound on the surface of the skin can be treated with Potassium permanganate, which is a purplish-black crystalline salt, that dissolves in water to give intensely pink or purple solutions. The substance is used for treating a number of skin conditions, which includes fungal infections, superficial wounds etc.
The cultivated microbial cellulose is rich with acidic components including yeast and bacteria, which can influence potassium permanganates effect on the surface of the material. For the experiment, four pieces of bacterial cellulose were used, with thin scares made in the shape of letter “H”, “E” “L” and “P”. The substance is “implanted” inside of the scars of the cellulose and documented. In the end, the dark pigmentation of the potassium permanganate vanished and the high pH leveled bacterial cellulose got back its condition from the first stage. Throughout a short video documentation of the experiment, it is metaphorically presented with natural and artificial material, alluding when natures micro life take control.
Collaborative exhibition with artist Nemanja Milenković and curator Katarina Kostandinović. Thoughts About Vanishing. Gallery Kazamat – Croatian Association of Artists in Osijek, Croatia.
Photography: Doris Despot