COLONIES

The Colonies series is a collaboration with artist Vik Muniz.  Vik is well-known for creating art out of unusual materials at exploring scale, with one of his projects documented in the academy-award nominated film Waste Land.  For this collaboration, we developed techniques to pattern really small and intricate patterns out of living, biological materials like bacteria and cells.  These images were photographed on a microscope and made into wall-sized prints.  
 

The Colonies series was profiled by The Creators Project, with the video posted below and a blog post that can be found here.  The series has been displayed at the Armory Show (NYC), Tel Aviv Museum of Art (Tel Aviv, Israel), Nara Roesler Gallery (Sao Paulo, Brazil), and Nichido Contemporary Art (Tokyo, Japan). You can see a zoomable image of Liver Cell Pattern 1 on Artsy. For more coverage on Colonies and art-science projects at MIT see the video below from the MIT Visiting Artists Program and as well as an article by MIT Art, Science and Technology.  The series was also featured as part of the "Art of Saving a Life" campaign to raise awareness about vaccination from the Gates Foundation and featured in the New York Times, New York Times, and the Wall Street Journal (Flowers, image featured on the right).

From left to right:  Dengue Pattern 12, HeLa Pattern 1, Art of Saving a Life Flowers Vaccinia, Flowers Vaccinia, Stem Cells (iPS) Motherboard, iPS Cells Pattern 3, Liver Cell Crowd, Liver Cell Pattern 1

Liver Cell Pattern 1.  The study of cancer relies on the understanding of how healthy and diseased cells function in our bodies. Here, healthy liver cells (primary rat hepatocytes) and cancer cells (below HeLa cells, cervical cancer) are transformed into images using micropatterning techniques. To make these images, a silicon stamp of the image was created, using photolithography, in a clean room facility at MIT. This stamp was placed on a dish coated with collagen, a molecule known to stick to cells, and plasma was used to ablate the collagen except where the stamp is not present. Cells were then added to the culture dish and washed several times, resulting in an image with an approximate size of one centimeter and features on the order of the size of cells (10 um) that are imaged on a microscope.

Liver Cell Pattern 1

A zoomed-in image of the above Liver Cell Pattern 1.
HeLa cell Pattern 1 

HeLa pattern 1

A portion of the proceeds from the Colonies series will be donated to cancer research.  To find out more about prints for sale contact Vik Muniz's studio for relevant information.