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House Of Natural Fiber's Intelligent Bacteria At The New Museum

As part of The Ungovernables' exhibition, The New Museum hosted The House of Natural Fiber (HONF), a new media art collective out of Yogyakarta, Indonesia. Yogyakarta is the second largest city on Java, a densely-populated island that hosts an active volcano named Mt. Merapi which erupted in 2006, and again in 2010, coating the city in ash.

The collective's previous piece, titled, “Intelligent Bacteria—Saccharomyces cerevisiae,” called attention to a new tax in Indonesia that caused the price of alcohol to skyrocket. As a result, a number of locals started fermenting their own liquor, creating potent moonshine that resulted in three deaths soon after the tax was introduced. To address the issue, HONF worked with microbiologists from the University of Gajah Mada in order to give free fruit-fermentation tutorials to the public. Not content with this DIY session, though, the art collective enlisted DJs and sound artists to create beats from the fermenting fruit, calling it a “bacteria orchestra.”

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