When science meets art
Student’s “MicroArt” to be on display at Harn Museum in April
By Erica A. Hernandez
Karissa Dieseldorff sees art and science as the same thing. For more than a year now, she has been painting the world around her with biochemical colors, created through the growth of bacteria and fungi in petri dishes.
Dieseldorff, a microbiology cell science senior at UF, will be sharing her view on science and art with hundreds of others on April 11. Her microbiology art project, MicroArt, will be displayed during Museum Nights at the Harn Museum of Art from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
“Art for the sake of art, art for the sake of education and art for the sake science: It’s a seamless transition,” said Monika Oli, Ph.D., a lecturer in UF’s department of microbiology and cell science.
MicroArt, which started as a class project for Oli’s microbiology lab, was showcased at UF’s Microbiology and Cell Science Spring 2011 Undergraduate Research Symposium.
Two years ago, Oli told her students they could do an art project instead of traditional research in the microbiology lab.
“There has been so much talk about the creative campus and I thought, ‘Let’s just see how the students respond,’” Oli said.
Since then, the petri dishes that were part of Dieseldorff’s original project have overgrown. So she is working with her peers to recreate the images for the showing in April.
“We are using much bigger dishes. We’re trying to get more intricate so that it all really pops and stands out. This exhibit will be much more visually impacting,” Dieseldorff said. “Sometimes we mix fungus with bacteria and the fungus will overgrow. You need to capture that perfect moment and then stop it,” Dieseldorff said.
Oli believes combining art and science fosters the creative nature of being a scientist, which isn’t usually acknowledged.
MicroArt goes a step further and incorporates technology into the exhibit through the use of live media. Videos recorded through a microscope are incorporated into the display with iPads.
“Painting with the cells started out as rudimentary and then exploded when we added videos of bacteria and stills on canvas,” Dieseldorff said.
The exhibit includes more than 25 pieces that were constructed by scientists and artists.
After MicroArt’s showing at the Harn, Dieseldorff hopes the stills on canvas can be displayed in the lobby of UF’s microbiology building. She hopes to sell a few pieces of art this way and donate funds raised to the department to fund future art and science
“MircoArt is so awesome. I believe there is such a need for interest in our field. We need more kids to love science. Our goal is to capture a different audience,” Dieseldorff said.