Microbe Me – Jon Biddulph


Photographic print. Original portrait photograph by Joel Peck: www.joelpeck.co.uk

About the Artwork

Micro-organisms, microbes for short, the diverse collection of living organisms largely invisible to the human eye, represent up to 60% of the Earth’s living matter.

Microbe Me is an outcome of on-going experiments in Manchester Metropolitan University Microbiology Labs to create and record cultured self-portraits using the microbes from the artist’s face mapped onto agar plates overlaying a photographic portrait of the artist.

Culturing these microbes into vast visible colonies reveals, literally, one face of an invisible world, in, on and around us. Largely benign, this ecosystem is often misunderstood and maligned, commonly with the focus on pathogens and ignoring the fact that microorganisms are integral and essential to life on earth.

Microbe Me extends the observational process of the original photograph, offering an extension to our human-centric, visible perception of the world; challenging the popular (and arguably arrogant) notion that ‘Man’ and ‘Nature’ are separate entities.

About the Artist

Jon Biddulph is a Manchester based artist, educator, garden designer and sourdough bread baker.

Driven by a broad curiosity, Jon’s work is concerned with people and place. He has explored this idea in ceramics and sculpture, through to site-specific participatory, collaborative and socially engaged installations, events and publications, as a founder member of TEA (with Val Murray, Peter Hatton and Lynn Pilling) until 2003. More recently he has created ‘place’ through gardens – in themselves complex mixes of design, botany, geography and sociology. His current fascination with microbiology, and more specifically the Human Microbiome – the complex and essential ecosystem of microbes living on and in the body – explores the integration of person and ‘place’ as a living, walking ecosystem.

He has exhibited at Tate Liverpool and Royal Festival Hall, London and RHS Flower Show Tatton Park.