Microbial Michael was a sculpture made with agar, that Artist Mellissa Monsoon & Microbiologist Professor Mark Clements created in 2017. The sculpture is a main focal point for the documentary 'Michael Mosley vs. The Superbugs' as a part of the Tomorrow's World series. This documentary is based on a journey the presenter Michael Mosley takes to discover facts about anti-microbial resistance, overall educating the public about antibiotic resistance.
Monsoon and Clements produced a life size agar sculpture of the presenter, which is the central focal point of the documentary, making the invisible world of the bacteria on our bodies, visible to a wide audience. This scale of agar sculpture has never been attempted before and was a giant experiment to explore various aspects of antimicrobial resistance, with the body split in two, one side is mixed with a broad spectrum antibiotic and the other without, enabling both artist and scientist to see what difference antibiotics makes to our natural flora.
The documentary was aired Wednesday 17th May 2017.
Artist & Scientist Collaboration
Mellissa became interested in the possibility of making the invisible world visible when she met Professor Mark Clements at The University of Westminster. Her interest in the invisible world began to grow once she saw bacteria grown on an agar plate. Mellissa then enquired with Mark whether it was possible to make a sculpture with agar and this led to the project Microbial Me, which is currently on display at The Eden Project as a part of a permanent exhibition The Invisible You: The Human Microbiome.
Mellissa and Mark continue to collaborate mixing Art & Microbiology as a form of artistic enquiry, as well as scientific enquiry. Whilst Mellissa questions the self and what really makes us human, Mark questions what exactly is grown on the sculptures, whilst both visualising their thoughts and questions to a diverse audience.