Anna Dumitriu, Alex May

Fermenting Futures

You can see the work »Fermenting Futures«. In the center is a glass container filled with a liquid. Organic objects are attached to the glass. Several tubes lead out of the opening.
Anna Dumitriu, Alex May
Fermenting Futures
Medium / Material / Technic
Glass, silicone tubing, 3D printing, acrylic paint, pump, horse chestnut, liquid containing killed yeast

The central object of this installation is a flask in which a fermentation process is taking place. A genetically modified yeast culture (»Pichia pastoris«) is able to capture CO2 and produce lactic acid, which in turn can be used to form biodegradable plastic (polylactid). Organically formed 3D prints based on scans of yeast formations adorn the glass container, and one of these shapes is made of the biopolymer produced by the fermentation process. The interior-exterior correspondence continues in the wooden plinth on which the flask rests. The base is made from the wood of the chestnut tree whose bark was also the source of the original yeast culture.

The living sculpture is flanked by a bioarchaeology of yeast: Black yeast is a highly resilient microorganism that often forms an undesirable patina on statues or monuments. For the »Fermenting Futures« project, microorganisms were cultivated over months in order to be able to take prints and cast them in plaster of paris. The sculptures were placed in a liquid medium containing black yeast and colorful mutants. Their coloration is a result of the decomposition process performed by the organisms.

In cooperation with Diethard Mattanovich, Michael Sauer, Özge Ata, Simone Bachleitner, Martin Altvater (BOKU – Institute for Microbiology and Microbial Biotechnology at the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna); with curatorial support from: Wolfgang Giegler, Sonja Schachinger; supported by: Ministry for Digital and Economic Affairs (BMDW), Ministry of Climate Action and Energy (BMK), Styrian Business Promotion Agency (SFG), Standortagentur Tirol, the Lower Austrian State Government, Wirtschaftsagentur Wien via the COMET program of the Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG).