Before cutting it up, I placed the bacterial collage under UV light. The red bacteria grow so thickly that they’re not really fluorescent any more.
I needed to reuse the tuperware container for additional experiments, so I killed off the bacteria with bleach. After some research, it looks like it’s unlikely that I’ll be able to save future dishes. Usually, scientists working with tissue cells can “fix” or preserve cells onto glass by using chemical or heat fixation. Chemicals, however, will most likely cause the medium the bacteria are growing on to dissolve, and heat will cause it to melt.
However, after cleaning the dish, I set up the first bacterial collage. The texts I used are Devo’s “Space Junk,” Karen Judson’s “Chemical and Biological Warfare,” and Theodore Roethke’s “Cuttings” and “Cuttings (Later).” I should have some pictures tomorrow!
How can working with a living text that becomes overgrown and contaminated, and eventually killed with bleach, affect my writing?
Thinking of repurposing a typewriter to type onto the bacterial cultures.
I played around with writing “Oxy” using my bacterial stocks as ink and inoculation loops as writing implements. For the last “Oxy,” I combined my three different bacterial stocks, and so the colonies grow up against each other to give it a unique speckled look.
I accidentally pressed a stencil down onto a thickly streaked bacterial culture, physically separating out distinct letters. I’ll have to explore this further!
I’ve tried to spray the inducing solution through a stencil onto the agar and then spreading the bacteria on top. This action appears to pick up some of the inducing agent as well so that all the bacteria becomes fluorescent.
I’ve also tried spraying the solution onto a already grown bacterial culture, but I think the solution ends up diffusing anyways, so no text is visible.
I’m going to have to figure out a new way to imprint the words onto the bacteria.