Rose Leahy

Ancient ooze to future myths
Baum & Leahy in collaboration with Julie Lattaud, Laura Schreuder and Gabriella Weiss, from the Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (NIOZ)

Winner of the Bio Art & Design Award 2018

Shortlisted for the Lumen Art Prize 2019

Shortlisted for the Rapoport Award 2019

Exhibited in Reshape: Mutating Systems, Bodies & Perspectives at MU Hybrid Art House

Featured on Next Nature Network Microbiocene: A microbiological archeology of the future

Welcome to the Microbiocene. Although, you’ve always been here. The Microbiocene, an ancient and ongoing epoch, has been unfolding and expanding since the beginning of life nearly 4 billion years ago. Overarching the Holocene, the Pleistocene, and our current, forty year-old era contestably named Anthropocene, the Microbiocene will continue on, far beyond our species’ lifespan. Now, as we become aware of the tremendous impact our species has upon the planet and its biosphere, we seek guidance from our tiny ancestors.

Microbiocene: Ancient ooze to future myths is a collaboration between Baum & Leahy and the Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (NIOZ) combining ancient marine microbiology with cutting edge XL 3D-printing and speculative future storytelling.

Microbiocene materially explores past, present and future life on Earth by translating hidden information from deep in the ocean to tell tales of ancient ecologies and inspire new narratives. By analysing the microfossil molecules of Ehux (Emiliania huxleyi) left within the sea sediment, ancient environmental conditions are revealed. This data combined with poetic speculation construct past and future myths, which can be found on the monument written in ‘microglyphs’ - a microbe-centric language system co-created by the artists and scientists.

The monumental sculpture is 3D-printed with Dutch XL 3D-printing company Vertico using the sea sediment. The nature of the bioinspired shapes combined with the 3D-printing techniques create an aesthetic which references both the information rich layers of sea sediment and future experimental architecture. Thus, Microbiocene presents a point in time where we start carving out ways of moving away from narratives of the Anthropocene and into the mindset and materiality of deep time. By reading the relics of this future archaeological site, visitors are invited to explore and imagine what we can learn from more-than-human ‘kindoms’.

Watch a video about the project here.

Microbiocene: Ancient ooze to future myths was developed through the Bio Art and Design Awards 2018, which is a product of collaboration between NWO, ZonMW, MU and BioArt Laboratories.

In progress showings:
Making of Microbiocene exhibited in Biodesign Here Now at Open Cell, 2018
Making of Microbiocene exhibited in Future Proof, curated by Material Driven at Architect@Work, 2019

Microbiocene: Traversing Multiscalar Realities at The Bartlett for Interactive Architecture Lab’s lecture series Multiple Materialities (2020)
Microbiocene: Traversing Multiscalar Realities at The Contemporary and Digital Art Fair (CADAF) (2020)
Making of Microbiocene at MU Hyrbid Art House for Reshape: Mutating Systems, Bodies and Perspectives (2018)
Making of Microbiocene at Open Cell for London Design Festival (2018)

© Rose Leahy 2020