Thanks to powerful microscopes, we can see images of the 100 trillion or so bacteria living in and on a typical human body, while powerful telescopes provide breathtaking views of the billions of stars in our galaxy. But how do we make sense of such sights, fragments of vast realms that exist beyond our usual perceptions? Do we simply continue on as before, or has something profound in our sense of who we are and of our place in the universe irretrievably shifted?
Microbiomes: To See the Unseen, a groundbreaking new exhibit this spring at the Corvallis Arts Center in collaboration with the Department of Microbiology, brings art into one of the hottest zones of current scientific research, namely: how do microbiota influence life within ourselves and on our planet?
The exhibit, which runs April 13-May 27, 2017, at the Corvallis Arts Center, is part of SPARK, a campus-wide celebration of the interplay between arts and science, and features artwork, poetry readings, and musical performances. It represents the culmination of a year’s worth of preparation involving workshops between microbiologists and artists, lab work, tours, outreach events and artistic “experiments." Meet the artists at an opening reception Thursday, April 20 4 – 8 pm at the Arts Center.
To further deepen the experience, our College is hosting the OSU Microbiome Initiative (OMBI) this spring, led by microbiologist and statistician Tom Sharpton.
Microbiology provides a huge canvas for artists. The human gut microbiome has probably gotten the most press, but microbiomes — the sum total of all of the microorganisms in a particular environment — are everywhere, from coffee cups to coral reefs, from a single leaf to the Santiam State Forest.