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We have begun some preliminary research on simple diet changes. Biology and Art students have been diligently drinking kombucha juice, using an anti bacterial mouthwash and drinking orange juice. The two week test period concludes tomorrow. The data will be sent off for deep sequencing and interpreted by Dr. Gondek and his lab.

Tomorrow my drawing class will be going to Dr Gondek’s lab and doing some sketching of their own incubated bacteria from the microscopes. In the spirit of thinking about the self and where we begin and end in a symbiotic bacterial environment, we will also swab everyone’s hands in the class in different orders and see what grows between us!! Stay tuned for exciting discussions and projects to come.

Our research will culminate in a symposium on Fri 3/23 at the Ithaca College Creative Space Gallery. There will be an exhibition of art and scienctific research. Guest speaker Charisa Terranova will speak about bacteria and notions of identity.





Today we went to the bio lab and got an overview of some fascinating recent discoveries concerning bacteria – such as the c. diff experiments, attraction and bacteria, bacterial colonies in the built environment, the difference in different colonies on the various area of the body and started talking a little about symbiotic bacterial relationships and bacterial communication.

Perhaps most exciting was looking at all of the samples that were incubated from our own bodies to try to see any changes and to identify the shapes of various types of bacteria. One student could see a clear change in the diversity of his bacteria in his samples as the testing came to a close.

We also did a group swab in different orders to see how different the growth is when the bacteria is layered differently.


Today we began the process of drawing our own bacteria samples in order to consider the forms and begin to think about developing images and research. The prompts for the  assignment were introduced:

Bacterial Abstraction

You will sketch shapes and forms from the microscope of your own bacterial samples in order to design an 8 inch square gouache painting on paper. You will use color and composition to explore the more immaterial aspects of your self-concept, together with the bacterial.

 Extended Self Portrait

You will create one large-scale drawing (min 24 x 36 inches) that includes 3 differently scaled portraits of yourself interacting in an imaginative space or scenario that addresses one of the following.

Place: Address an extended view of self in relation to the built vs. natural environment.

Identity Politics: Address an extended view of self in relation to social issues as they relate to identity; sexual objectification, misogyny, sexism, racism, ethnocentrism and any other form of identity bias or discrimination.

Intimacy: Address interpersonal relationships (self vs others- family, intimate partners etc) Where do we end and others start? You may think about family history, genetics or symbiotic bacterial relationships between intimate organisms.





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