Site-specific microorganisms from a building
façade grown on agar, 2023

Growing Garden is a living, site-specific, research-based installation. By providing a
dialogue between art, architecture, geomicrobiology, and critical theory, the piece considers the intricate relationship shaped by the border(s) between anthropocentric and nonhuman environments.

‘This evolving installation is a laboratory-like spectacle 
curated by microorganisms collected directly from the facade of a
building of the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna.’

It highlights the border as a framework informing our evaluation of microorganisms and of purification methodologies that tend to disregard their existence. By doing so, it emphasises the separation of humans from nature, and reinforces the prevailing notions of cleanliness and maintenance that eradicate the aesthetically distressing changes originating from non-human life on urban and architectural surfaces. 

‘What if naturally occurring stains on architectural surfaces were given critical attention?’

By collecting, analyzing, and cultivating microorganisms found on the facade of the Academy building, Growing Garden seeks to acknowledge the crucial role these microorganisms play in urban ecosystems and their often-overlooked visual qualities.

To showcase this living artwork, Petri Dishes containing various types of agar food are strategically placed along the border between the exhibition room's interior and exterior. This specific location, in between two layers of historical window, rarely utilised by other practitioners, proves to be an ideal spot for the Growing Garden and the microorganisms that thrive within it.

The installation is a part of ongoing research in “Epidermitecture” at the
Institute for Art and Architecture and the Institute for Natural Sciences
and Technology in the Art at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna.