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Microbial Commons

We're always excited to see art and science projects take shape and are especially happy to share the continuation of the project Microbial Commons, by artist Olga Kisseleva, biologist David Kothamasi, and lawyer and researcher Saskia Vermeylen. This project, although it is not being developed in the framework of NaturArchy, follows along some of the core themes of the initiative - Rights of Nature; Earth Jurisprudence - and is the result of Olga and Saskia meeting at the 2022 SciArt Summer School at the JRC Ispra.

Microbial Commons project image landscape
Microbial Ecosystems concept image 


About Microbial Commons

Microbial Commons is a part of the Rights of Nature program developed by Saskia VERMEYLEN and Olga KISSELEVA since 2022 in the Strathclyde Centre for Environmental Law and Governance. The focus of the research is to set up a long-term collaboration between art-science and law in the area of environmental humanities. Art and law are currently exploring in their own respective disciplines how nature can be represented in its own right. This raises fundamental and existential challenges for lawyers because environmental laws are deeply anthropocentric and the sources of legal theories are humanistic. Rights of Nature or Earth Jurisprudence is gaining traction across the world as rivers, mountains and whole ecosystems are given rights and legal personhood. But given the unprecedented challenges of biodiversity loss and global warming we need a more progressive and experimental legal intervention. Rights based solutions are still anthropocentric and humanistic and ignore other ways of knowing the natural world and our relationship with it.

Proposed Art Installation

The proposed art installation is developed by the interdisciplinary team combining in a novel way state of the art developments in 3 major disciplines: micro-biology, environmental law and contemporary art. The work is supported by 3 international research laboratories, and the project proposes an evolutive universe composed as an immersive installation and includes a series of participative performances which encourage a strong public interaction. In a dark room a set of works provide the background for an immersive experience which includes: video projections, works on screens, light works, all linked to scientific experimentation in the micro-biology laboratory which are enhanced through the dialogue that has taken place through the collaborations for more than two years between micro- biologists and envrionmental law.

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