The projects below are in every stage of development, from nascent to mature. They hurdle classical boundaries of interior design, food, fashion, story-telling, and science. I am fascinated by this intersection. Please contact me if you have interest in collaborating, participating, or providing a new avenue of discovery.
Some of our favorite food and beverages are made with what we call ‘germs.’ When the micro becomes macro, beauty abounds. These are real images of these life forms. These images have broken free from the bounds of science journals. Humans have been inspired by nature for interior designs for years… it’s about time we find inspiration in the nature of our own homes and beverages. This installation features brewing and baking yeasts, false-colored and printed on fabric. They are made into comfortable pillows that are durable enough to withstand everything from supporting a back at a desk chair, to supporting the fun of a pillow fight.
Each of these pillows or chairs comes with a tag that features a genetic barcode–the actual DNA sequence of that unique organism. Contact email@example.com, subject: SEENANDUNSEEN to order or collaborate.
Concept: Introducing non scientists to microscopic life, #SciArt.
From pollen granules to brewing yeasts, from fungal spores to bits of bug eyes in dust, these scientific Scanning Electron Micrograph images of the life that surrounds us are translated on to linen pillows. Image and Concept (c) Anne A. Madden. SEMs courtesy of multiple groups and can not be reused without their authorization. Custom SEMS of specific yeast and bacterial strains available upon request.
For centuries we have been sculpting with plants: bonsai, topiaries, gardens. Now it’s time to grow your own microbe. Watch as these tiny creatures unfold before your eyes in a few days. You too can make your own fuzzy, living dinosaur.
This is the world’s first microbial toy, or better yet, microbial pet. With your care it will grow before you eyes. It will look like a fledgling dinosaur, but it will actually be millions of creatures working together in front of you. The perfect addition to an office desk. It is the pet of the future. It is the fuzzy dino.
The science behind it: I have discovered a microorganism species that grows particularly fast, and well, on 3-D structures such as a model dinosaur. If you can care for sea monkeys, you can care for the fuzzy dinosaur. I’m currently working with a group of scientists at Tufts University to develop a method for safely growing and cleaning these microbial pets. These methods will allow students and citizens to engage with the microscopic world in a whole new way.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org, subject: FUZZYDINO to express interest.
Concept: Grow your own microbial pet, #SciArt.
For centuries we have sculpted with plants, now it’s time to take on more microscopic lifeforms. (c) Anne A. Madden.
Scratch and Sniff Stories of Science
Scratch and Sniff Stories of Science
Explore the invisible creatures around you with a scratch and sniff storybook of your home. I’m working on a children’s story about the bacteria and fungi in our homes and the smells they produce (both good and bad) that let us know where they are. Baking bread, a whiff of chocolate, the sour tinge of pickles, and the earthy smell of soil–these are the aromatic footprints of our invisible roommates. This is one of the first science books that so directly engages students across a visual-ableness spectrum AND it includes findings from our own science. Contact email@example.com Subject: SCRATCHANDSNIFFBOOK to order or collaborate.
Concept: Engaging multisensory learning and introducing non scientists to microbes.
**((The photo above is a set of scratch and sniff stickers for microbe-based smells in our homes))**
Microbial tiles as architectural and wearable units
Microbial tiles as architectural and wearable units – Living Homes
It’s time to use 2.4 billion years of evolution when building the modern environment. Microbial tiles will be large, compostable plastic ‘cells’ that contain dehydrated nutrients and specific microbes. Just add water and watch as they change from yellows to pinks, or blues to black. These tiles will act as large-scale petri dishes of specific microbes (non-GMO) and growth media–chosen through a custom database and software package. A veritable microbial pantone exists, yet has has not previously been harnessed for interior design. These tiles can modify the visual and olfactory (smell) space, and even the behavior of the occupants (from pets to humans). Let’s make organic stained-glass windows that are alive! In the schematic below, the microbial cell panels are hexagons, growing over time. Some cells can make the viewer alert by producing blue light, some create beautiful visuals, while others produce aromas of baking bread, browned butter, or grape juice (Reload webpage to view the animation again.) Contact firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MICROBETILES to order or collaborate.
Concepts: Engaging multisensory learning and introducing non scientists to microbes, designing with new tools, modifying built environments to engage certain behavioral patterns.
These tiles can be seeded with known and unknown microbes. They can then be paired with animal biosensors to detect certain chemical compounds of interest.
Science Inspired Fashion
Science Inspired Fashion – Science is Beautiful
Whirling DNA helixes, personal microbiome charts glittering on the edges of skirt trims, painting with microbes, conference name tags that dynamically exhibit useful information, not just people’s names… Science offers new inspiration, and tools for art and design. Engaging with the aesthetic of science offers opportunities to reach new audiences while fighting stifling and antiquated stereotypes.
Concepts: Temporary tattoos that highlight scales of microbes, dresses flowing with data that can teach while you move, installations that grow and interact with the presence of your body, fashion articles made from the tons of safe lab waste we generate every year. Aesthetic beauty is an inherent part of science, not in opposition to it.
**((The photos above showcase 1.) recycled lab material jewelry and headpiece, worn to the 2015 Ig Nobel ceremony. 2.) A custom dress created in collaboration with scientists at MSU and the fashion designer SheNova. Dress will be available on her website soon. 3.) Yeast brewer’s bag, fancy clutch, and beer bag (coming soon to Roostery.com)))**
Science and Food
Science and Food – Teaching through Tastebuds
From developing new tastes, to using culinary skills to model and interact with scientific facts, food can be a passive or active teaching tool. Let’s make food a resource for the mind, not just the body. Contact email@example.com Subject: SCIENCEFOOD to order your own scientifically inspired feast.
Concept: It’s easy to reach for a cupcake, hard to reach for a textbook. Let’s use this information and not ignore it.
**((The photos above are of paper wasps, lab benches, petri plates, ginger bread houses with bug infestations, bee hives, and 96-well plates that are all 100% edible. These were made in association with the artist Joanne Arnold))**
I study how it is impossible to understand animals without understanding their microbes. As a visual of this, look at the magic eye below and see what animal emerges from the gram stain of its bacteria:
Beer Coloring Page – Beer Science is Fun AND relaxing
Yeast–tiny, microscopic creatures–make our beer possible. If you look very close, an unfiltered beer is a swirling mass of billions of these cells. Take a look at these yeast while coloring them and learning just a bit about their lives.
Concepts: An art collaboration between the artist Joanne Arnold (my AWESOME mother) and the Dunn lab.
**((The photos above showcase recycled lab material jewelry and headpiece, worn to the 2015 Ig Nobel ceremony))**
**((Photo Credits: Header: Smith&Nasht, the rest are Anne A. Madden))**