BioArt – Science and Creativity

Ever thought about the interaction between biology and art? Browsing the Internet you will realize you are not the only one! The net is full of local and national projects promoting the interaction of art, science and creativity. For instance, a few years ago in Groningen a bacteria painting was displayed at the De Nacht van Kunst & Wetenschap . Early this year, a biodesign exhibition was held in Rotterdam, where several examples of biomimicry were showcased.

DIYbio Groningen, too,  had the chance to contribute to this new trend. The opportunity arose while talking with an art student from Utrecht: Ingrid. She is a graphic designer and she was looking for inspiration for her art/science project.

We first met Ingrid and brainstormed, while drinking some tea in Groningen. Many exciting ideas on how to use bacteria and art came up during this session. She was particularly fascinated by the reaction between iodine and starch, which produce a blue color. Bacteria are known to break down starch, so a mixture of bacteria, starch and iodine may result in colorful white/blue patterns.

Her first question:

How can we grow bacteria?

The classical DIYbiologist answer followed:

Just get into the kitchen and start cooking!

And so we did!

After a quick search on the Internet we went to the supermarket and bought some basic ingredients and tools: bouillon, sugar, gelatine, swab, cups,…


This was the result:

petri1 petri2 petri3 petri4 petri5 petri6 petri7 petri8

Unfortunately no bacteria grew… Next time we will try with a new recipe and keep you updated about the progress on our OpenAgar!


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