Bacteria interact with each other at the microscopic level, communicating where and when they should search for food. In this series, strains of Paenibacillus and Salmonella, known to cause a variety of diseases such as food poisoning, typhoid fever, and bacteremia, are allowed to grow and spread on Petri dishes. The patterns emerge from an initial population of bacteria that swim outward through an Agar gel using their motorized tails, creating the equivalent to a microscopic traffic jam of bacteria.
The Petri collection is a set of porcelain dishes manufactured by Bernardaud that Vik Muniz and I collaborated on. We chose to use bacterial species that naturally form fractal-like patterns under certain conditions. Vik and I also did a conversation series on the topic at Bernardaud in New York City and in Paris.