Sanja is in touch with the objects of her study - microbes - in a unique way. She gives the superficially uniform little creatures a face and a voice, listens to their amused comments on human life and translates their ramblings into cartoons.
Unseen and yet practically everywhere - in the air we breathe, the water we drink and the ground we walk on - microorganisms affect humans in myriads of different ways, playing many an essential role in our daily lives. Yet most people know very little about them, barely noticing them unless of course they are causing some pesky disease. Or invading our most intimate spaces, like the microbiome squatting in our gut. News about communicating bacteria, or bacteria swapping pieces of information like USB sticks raises fears of “Gutleaks” and loss of control over our own bodies. Maybe even our minds?
Until recently microbiology was confined to textbooks, but is now increasingly gaining visibility in the everyday world. The average person is now wondering about the millions of hitchhikers in his or her gut. But what do bacteria think about that? Are they surprised? Could a glimpse into their life and philosophical musings shed some light on the forces that drive ours?
“So, How’s Life in the Colonies?” answers that question.
This bacterial adventure story uses narrative, cartoons, art and humour to present current topics in microbiology. The project required an active exchange with other disciplines, an investigation into the interfaces where biology meets social studies, urban architecture, art or communication. Crucial impulses for the realisation came from the Creationship and Arts in Practice programmes at the Zurich University of the Arts.
It is an experiment. Sanja & the bugs continue to learn and look forward to your feedback.
For a weekly update on microbes’ thoughts tap into instagram.com/biocomicalpathways