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The Unseen Majority

by Julia Jueckstock

Is our limited knowledge of microbes a critical blind spot in facing the earth's changing climate?

curiousity

complexity

climate change

microbes

About the project

They are the overlooked, the underappreciated and the invisible workers that make our earth’s systems work. They protect our babies from disease, produce much of the oxygen we breathe, grow our nourishing crops and delicately link everyone and everything together, in invisible harmony.

The Unseen Majority communicates the importance of microbes by inviting curiosity through the merging of science-certainty and design-mystery.

 
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From invisible to visible

The Bacillus Subtilis biofilm is a bacterial community that works together to ensure collective thriving and survival through a variety of calculated behaviors. As the community forms, the bacteria goes from invisible to visible in the form of an architectural biofilm (time-lapse on the left).

Biofilm Growth, 24-hour time-lapse at 25°C
(1x image every minute).

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Letter growth on charcoal LBGM Agar plate

(growth recorded in time-lapse box).

Bacteria spore (bacillus subtilis) application

& linoleum cut letters

Biofilm Detail #1

magnification: E20 x 20

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Biofilm Detail #2

magnification: E20 x 50

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Biofilm Detail #3

magnification: E20 x 100

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A global exhibition

Knowledge from biology, print, video and photography were combined to tell a vivid story to the audience. Living posters were created from letters that were grown and documented using time- lapse photography. A QR code leads the viewers to a digital story-telling experience that shares stories from across the globe, focusing on microbes and their effect on climate change (and vice versa). 

Bacteria-grown typeface.

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Interactive posters.

 
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Letter growth animation.

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Our existence is based upon the microbial world, some even say we’re more microbe that we are human. Yet, microbes are not counted in today’s climate change estimation models, leaving not just a gap, but a black hole in the data. Education is a critical agent in communicating the importance of climate change, directly affecting attitudes, behaviors and decision making. The Unseen Majority aims to spread awareness by making microbes visible and telling their stories – giving them the attention they deserve and hopefully inspiring a new wave of research and consideration.

 
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Julia Jueckstock

As a multi-disciplinary designer, I break down silos to create innovative experiences that leave a positive impact. Most recently I have been exploring the intersection of art, science and design in order to articulate alternative sustainable solutions that redefine how we create in the future.