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An Exquisite Ode to Bacteria, Painstakingly Carved in Paper

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A few years back Rogan Brown moved from London to a remote region of France. “It was an overwhelming experience,” he says, “and as an artist I was looking for a way to come to terms with my new environment.” Landscape painting seemed too staid, so he started trying to recreate bits of the teeming world around him in paper. Since then, he’s gotten pretty good at it.

Outbreak, Brown’s latest work, is a tribute to the Human Microbiome Project, an ongoing scientific study of the vast, diverse colonies of bacteria that live inside us. The piece was made for an exhibition organized by the Eden Project, a non-profit that promotes ecologically-related tourism in the UK. “For me as a visual artist the job was to help change public perception of bacteria from something negative and dirty to something that is by and large benign if not crucial for the healthy functioning of our bodies,” Brown says.

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