Communitatis Vita – Las Cruces, 2015

In trying to find life after death I came to explore how our bodies are a landscape of life, composed of complex multitudes of co-existent beings that are a part of us and yet distinct.

By growing some of these microscopic beings in agar, the normally hidden blending between our “self” and integral organisms can be made visible – raising questions about our identity and our relations to each other and our environment.

The Communitatis Vita, Latin for “Life of the Community,” engages guests to inoculate the agar the night of the opening. By touching the agar, participants leave their bacteria on the agar, and their bacteria then grows, lives and dies in the enclosed environment that mirrors our own existence within the thin atmosphere of the planet – raising questions of interaction, survival and resource usage.


Below you can see Communitatis Vita Las Cruces, 2015 from the night of the innoculation to several days and weeks later into its growth.


Night of the inoculation:




Several days later:




A couple of weeks later:



Nearly two months after the initial inoculation:


This piece was made with the gracious help of several biologists who helped figure out the ideal conditions to safely grow the bacteria, artisans who produced the plexiglass domes,  woodworkers who helped think of how to display the work, and my incredible husband who helped construct the base.

Additional thanks goes out to my friends, teachers and peers who helped in various roles.



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