Tuesday, 25 October 2011

making paintings with bacteria

In Simon's lab at the University of Surrey

Before and after pictures of these two plates of collaborative paintings between myself, Serratia marcescens and Simon Park.

So the paint medium is this wonderfully contaminated but nevertheless fragrant and delicious mixture of gum arabic, honey and glycerin in water.  The pigments I'm using are:

A: ultramarine  (Na8-10Al6Si6O24S2-4 , a.k.a. Reckitt's or dolly blue)
B: phthalo blue  (C32H16N8Cu , humanity's contribution to the porphyrins)
C: diarylide yellow (you can buy 100 tons per month from this company)
D: phthalo green (like the blue, only the phthalocyanine is chlorinated)
E: cobalt violet (Co3(PO4)2 )
F: zinc white ( Philosophers' Wool to you)
G: chrome green (Cr2O3)
H: lamp black (we scrape it off the gas lamps on our way to t'mill in the mornings and keep it in our flat caps.)

Because of the interactions with those opportunistic chaps in the paint this is a total flop as regards answering any of my paint-bacteria questions, and so much the better, sez I, as it means I can use some of my favourite phrases about it such as "inconclusive" and "poorly understood" and will therefore just have to do some more of this very fun and nice work.

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