Microbial was created for the United Nations General Assembly and shown in New York in 2019. It was shown as part of an exciting UN project that asked artists from all over the world to create works that raised awareness to the threat of Antimicrobial Resistance and Superbugs.
In 2019, the microbial resistance to prescription antibiotics, and superbugs that defied treatment, was perceived to be one of the greatest future threats to our society. For Microbial, GAS collaborated with scientists to find a way to describe these microbes in an immersive and engaging way - away from the microscope. As a free standing inflatable sculpture, the viewer is allowed to journey around, through and under untreatable tuberculosis, drug resistant gonorrhea, and a spikey mystery microbe.
The work was slated to be shown at the World Health Organisation in Geneva as a tool for powerful conversations around the health of our global population. Sadly, this was cancelled when in early 2020, our worst fears materialised with the emergence of COVID’19. Unknowingly, GAS’s mystery microbe, that was included in their 2019 installation, would become infamous in 2020 - the spiked virus we all know now as COVID’19.
Now in 2021, the whole world has been introduced to complex ideas around how microbes have incredible power over our society. Using microscopic images of virus and bacteria, GAS interpreted scientific structures into an abstract art world of colour, textures and forms. In an age where our population is forced to come to terms with the daily problems of living with a pandemic; dealing with confusion and misleading information, Microbial is a multi-generational opportunity to more deeply understand the potential threat of new viruses and the power of drugs as solutions if we manage them well. If drugs are managed poorly (eg. over prescription of antibiotics) then the microbes can mutate at an accelerated pace and become untreatable by our existing drugs.
The work has briefly come back from America - where it continues to be shown, to be proudly presented at Questacon, the National Science and Technology Centre. Microbial has evolved to be a very relevant and much needed artwork as it’s a difficult subject, so the work uses play, colour and scale to create a new way of looking at this global, very pressing challenge.
This work has been designed, sewn and printed by humans in creative workshops in Australia. The fabrics have been custom designed using our digital and hand drawn processes.