Fluorescent Bacteria Fashion
Victoria Geaney seeks to combine fashion, art, science and technology. She says “the work I produce may not always be wearable or even possible, but the idea and innovation is what I find interesting and is what I am passionate about.”
(Biomaterial fashioned from little more than sunlight and air)
Although purely conceptual, the collection of 2-D print design work explored the idea of fluorescent bacteria and its theoretical application on garments as a biological, glowing print. Aware that there are laws that disallow bacteria to be used in this way, Victoria admitted that “fabric that could be living and emitting light is very interesting!”
More recently Victoria together with three other research students Wayne Binitie, Flora Bowden and Trent Kim Future, presented an interdisciplinary exhibition that takes inspiration from nature using non-traditional materials. Attending visitors were given the opportunity to be wowed by the project I mentioned earlier. Called Azzazel, the exhibition showed a collection of bacterial cellulose sculptures that included a dress made from Kishitanni, a photobacterium that is found deep in the ocean and glows a blue colour when alive.
Fans of science fiction may recall the biofabrics from J.G. Ballard's 1970 short story Say Goodbye to the Wind:
The racks of gowns itched and quivered, their colors running into blurred pools. One drawback of bio-fabrics is their extreme sensitivity. Bred originally from the gene stocks of delicate wisterias and mimosas, the woven yard have brought with them something of the vine's remarkable response to atmosphere and touch. The sudden movement of someone nearby, let alone of the wearer, brings an immediate reply from the nerve-like tissues. A dress can change its color and texture in a few seconds, becoming more decollete at the approach of an eager admirer, more formal at a chance meeting with a bank manager.
This sensitivity to mood explains the real popularity of bio-fabrics. Clothes are no longer made from dead fibers of fixed color and texture that can approximate only crudely to the vagrant human figure, but from living tissues that adapt themselves to the contours and personality of the wearer. Other advantages are the continued growth of the materials, fed by the body odours and perspriration of the wearer, the sweet liqueurs distilled from her own pores, and the constant renewal of the fibers, repairing any faults or ladders and eliminating the need for washing.
Be sure to check out Ballard's related term inert-wear.
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