BIOGLYPHS was an interdisciplinary, interspecies exhibition the first of its kind at Montana State University Bozeman. The show opened on Earth Day, Monday, April 22, 2002, and continued through Friday, April 26, at the Exit Gallery of MSU Bozeman's Strand Union Building.
Over a period of two months in the spring of 2002, students and faculty from the MSU School of Art met with students, staff and faculty at the Center for Biofilm Engineering to explore the possibility of working as partners in a creative project that would bridge science and art. Those early conversations led to the decision to enlist a third party of collaborators: bioluminescent bacteria from the ocean.
Meetings were subsequently held in a CBE lab to introduce the School of Art participants to laboratory equipment and techniques, and to the practice of "painting" on prepared petri dishes with a sort of "invisible ink" composed of liquid medium inoculated with the bacteria. Then the microorganisms themselves went to work, multiplying on the plates and beginning to produce light within 24 hours.
The result of this 3-way collaboration was a collection of bioluminescent paintings. In the darkened gallery, the only light available to view the art was that produced by the bacteria themselves. Over the five-day period, the light intensity of the paintings changed as the bacteria multiplied and then gradually consumed the nutrient available.
© 2002-2003 MSU Bozeman Bioglyphs Project, a collaboration co-created by the Montana State University Bozeman School of Art, the Center for Biofilm Engineering, and billions of bioluminescent bacteria.