An exhibition of the High Altitude Bio-Prospecting work group at Birmingham Open Media Gallery, UK, 2021.
High Altitude bioprospecting (HAB) is a long term project involving scientists and artists in a quest to explore extreme environments, particularly the stratosphere and detect and capture microorganisms that may live or survive there. The exhibition draws on the expertise of a family of HAB collaborators who come from the worlds of science, engineering, art and maths. Their work investigates the invisible microbial life in the air, understood as both a co-existing benign presence or as a potential threat, as has been found in recent times of the Coronavirus pandemic. Included in the exhibition is a novel innovation made at BOM during Robotic Engineer Oliver De Peyer’s residency in early 2020. De Peyer created the second iteration of the HAB ‘device’ which is designed to sample microbes whilst in ‘flight’.
The HAB team have been working together since 2008 and have exhibited their work at BOM (2016, Ingenious and Fearless Companions) and the Victoria and Albert Museum (Digital Design Festival 2016). To find out more you can check out their photographic journey book here and read Paul Shepherd’s account of the first experiments here.
This programme of work will travel to Helsinki, Finland later on in 2021 to be shown at the Bioart Society. The works are heavily informed by the Bioart society’s 2019 residency ‘Field_Notes – The Heavens’, of which the HAB team were involved, read more here.
The HAB Team is: Melissa Grant, Oliver de Peyer, Hannah Imlach, Anna Dumitriu, Alex May, Paul Shepherd, Heidi Pietarinen, Till Bovermann, Anne Yoncha and Noora Sandgren. Photo credits: Thom Bartley, Melissa Grant.
Click thumbnails to view the exhibition photos here: