Published: 15 February 2022

Surrey’s research offers fertile ground for artistic expression

Artist in Residence, Anna Dumitriu is working closely with the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences to produce a new body of artworks that will showcase the University’s ongoing ‘One Health, One Medicine’ research. Now a few months into the residency, Anna shares some exciting updates about the project and reveals what’s been inspiring her on campus.

Anna Dumitriu

What is BioArt? 

BioArt is an emerging area of artistic practice that brings together art and science. It explores the relationship between humans, science and ethics. BioArtists work with tissue, bacteria or other living organisms and also study life processes. Using scientific methods such as biotechnology and genetic engineering, the artworks are produced in laboratories, galleries, hacker-spaces, as well as artists' studios.

I'm very hands on and experience all the processes used in my work. I even work with dangerous pathogens such as Yersinia pestis which causes plague, and genetically modify bacteria, plants and yeast using a cutting-edge technique known as CRISPR. I combine this with a range of artistic media including painting, sculpture in wood and stone, and textile work that includes relics of the lab process such as stains left by bacteria and extracted DNA.

Have there been any highlights from your time at Surrey so far?

A particular highlight so far has been that we've already managed to get some additional seed funding from the National Biofilms Innovation Centre to develop a work about the carbon-capturing ‘living latex’. This is closely linked to another ongoing project I have with the University of Western Attica’s Department of Antiquities and Works of Art called “Unruly Objects”. The plan is to showcase the result of the work at the V&A Museum in London in due course.

How is your project taking shape?

It’s taking a large amorphous shape! There are so many fantastic directions and I want to follow them all. I’m quite determined and making art usually takes precedence over sleep and normal things people do so we’ll have to wait and see what emerges.

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