The project Decon explores the use of biotechnology methods and materials as artmedia, for the development of paintings literally alive that deconstruct themselves while exhibited. In Decon replicas of Piet Mondrian geometric paintings were created using bacterial support medium. The colors in these paintings are progressively degraded by Pseudomonas putida bacteria. This technology is based in the work of Dr. Lígia Martins, at the Instituto de Biologia Química e Biológica in Lisbon, where the project has been developed. In her laboratory scientists research biological strategies to degrade highly pollutant textile dyes using bacteria harmless to human beings and to the environment. During the development of Decon, the artist and her collaborators have researched the optimal conditions to influence bacterial activity, adapting the color degradation rate to the environmental conditions of a museum. The objective was to achieve a slow decomposition of the images during the entire duration of their public exhibition. Thus, the artwork is something literally alive, and as such destined to die and decompose, as all of us are.
DECON: DECONSTRUCTION, DECONTAMINATION, DECOMPOSITION
Developed with help from Ligia Martins (MET Group, ITQB). With support from SOPHIED
and Direcção Geral das Artes.
Tags: bactéria, bioremediation, biology, microbiology, mondrian, painting, live organisms, time.