Scratching the Surface

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SCRATCHING THE SURFACE



SCRATCHING THE SURFACE A - Z OF BACTERIA


Designed by Jodi Atkins

Photography by Jodi Atkins

Typefaces HV Muse by Harmonais Visual Trap by Aayush Mayank Dotline by Honey & Death

Essay Content The Beautiful World of Bacteria’ written by Liesl Ulrich-Verderber


This project explores the interconnectivity between humans and bacteria. Going into 2021 it has become a familiar sight to see people in public opening doors with their elbows, refraining from touching surfaces, and most commonly; the continuous, thorough act of sanitisation. Our heightened awareness of bacteria, is ultimately a result of 2020’s coronavirus outbreak. As a nation we have become scared of the vast world of microorganisms that live invisibly among us. Whilst more than 99% of bacteria cannot make us ill, it is good to be aware of all the different cultures that live on common surfaces in our homes and nearby. This book demonstrates my findings whilst growing bacteria from 26 different swab samples, most of which I took from the surfaces around my house. Each sample represents a surface beginning with a different letter of the alphabet. My aim in doing this was to show people that we have a natural and healthy relationship with bacteria, it is not as scary as it seems. I also wanted to compare the letters against each other and identify the growth on each one with the surface that it originally came from. ...It is safe to say that some letters are much dirtier than others!

Editorial Statement - written by Jodi Atkins


Contents Intro: The Beautiful World of Bacteria

8-9

Equipment

10-11

PPE

12-13

Swabs + Samples

14-15

Bacteria Growth

16-17

Fear

34-35

Avoidance

50-51

Contact

66-67

Typeface Growth + Development

72-73

Bacterial Typeface

74-75

The Beautiful World of Bacteria

74-75

A-Z English Alphabet

78

V-M Bacterial Alphabet

79


Armchair Banister Camera flash button Debit Card Earpiece from headphones Fridge Door Games console Handle iPhone Jewellery Keyboard Light switch Makeup brush Nightstand Oven door Plate Queuing Rail Remote control Steering wheel Toilet seat Utensils Vacuum nozzle Waterbottle Xbox controller Yoga Mat Zip

20-21 22-23 24-25 26-27 28-29 30-31 32-33 34-35 36-37 38-39 40-41 42-43 44-45 46-47 48-49 50-51 52-53 54-55 56-57 58-59 60-61 62-63 64-65 66-67 68-69 70-71


Scratching the Surface

The Beautiful World of Bacteria

8


A-Z of Bacteria

“Bacteria are microbes; organisms that are too small to be seen without a microscope. Generally, microbes include bacteria, archaea, fungi, protists, and viruses. As a group, they've been around for at least 3,500 million years and, for a long time, were the only form of life present on this earth! But unlike most other organisms, the cells of bacteria are very simple; containing no nucleus or membrane-bound organelles. Take a look at the illustration to the right and see how they differ from the typical plant and animal cells.”

The Beautiful World of Bacteria- written by Liesl Ulrich-Verderber 9


Scratching the Surface

Equipment

Sterile Swab

10

Innoculaton Rod


A-Z of Bacteria

Bacterial Swab Tube

11

Pipette



Personal Protective Equipment is a sensible precaution to take when handling bacteria

PPE


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Swabs + Samples

Swab Travel Kit

Cotton Swab

Sterilising Solution

In order to get the best results I had to ensure all of my equipment was sterile. The process involved removing the swab from the sterilised tube, dipping it into sterilising solution before running the cotton part of the swab back and forth gently along the surface a few times.

14


A-Z of Bacteria

Taking Sample

Bacteriology Tube

All Samples

It was then placed into the pre-labelled bacteriology tube where the sample was preserved until I was ready to innoculate the petri dishes. A different swab kit was used for each sample.

15


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Bacteria Growth

The growth of bacteria from a kitchen cupboard handle swab. (Day 2 + 6) 16


A-Z of Bacteria

“Whether through creating art or by bringing scientific research home, making the microbial world visible helps us to understand it better, to fear it less, and come to appreciate how rich our world is because of bacteria.”

The Beautiful World of Bacteria- written by Liesl Ulrich-Verderber 17



A-Z


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A Armchair

20


A-Z of Bacteria

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B Banister

22


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C Camera

24


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D Debit Card

26


A-Z of Bacteria

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E Earphones

28


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29


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F Fridge Door

30


A-Z of Bacteria

31


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G Games Controller

32


A-Z of Bacteria

33


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H Handle

34


A-Z of Bacteria

Fear Humans have a fraught relationship with bacteria. Over the last decade there has been a dramatic increase in advertising for products like antibacterial soaps, disinfectants, and air purifiers – all of which are designed to minimise or supress bacteria from the space in which we live. As well as advertising, the news presents a heinous representation of bacteria, particularly when talking about pandemics, disease and hygiene. The spread of germs is at the forefront of people's minds. More people are wearing face masks, sanitizing surfaces and taking other precautionary measures to prevent contamination. Much of this concern has stemmed from the recent outbreak of Covid-19. Not only are we now scared of surfaces that get us dirty or give


Scratching the Surface

H Handle

us colds, people are now fearful of somthing that can be lifethreatening. Now more than ever people make conscious decisions as to whether they should touch certain objects, surfaces and people. When people do make this contact - even though small - they are ultimately taking a risk in allowing contamination from the outside world and with bacteria or microbes that are invisible to us. With all of this considered It's no surprise that people are led to believe that bacteria are merely enemies to be eliminated. However we must understand that bacteria is not all bad. Perhaps if people could see it they would not be so afraid of it? Bacteria is everywhere and most of it helps us to thrive.

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I Iphone

36


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J Jewellery

38


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39


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K Keyboard

40


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41


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L Lightswitch

42


A-Z of Bacteria

43


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M Make Up Brush

44


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45


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N Nightstand

46


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47


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O Oven Handle

48


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49


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P Plate

50


A-Z of Bacteria

Avoidance 2020 has been a pretty surreal year. Many people have faced challenges that would have been unimaginable to them just one year ago and daily life looks nothing like it used to due to COVID-19 restrictions. Throughout the past year, our reliance on technology has been greater than ever. Our physical human interaction is being kept to a minimum and our contact with screens has reached an all-time peak. Whilst technology has enabled us to stay safer than it would if we did not have it, it has also led to people feeling isolated, lonely and disconnected. At the most commonly busy places, like supermarkets, you might only interact with a screen


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P Plate

for your whole outing. You use machines to scan your items, you pay using a card machine and the till promptly gives you your reciept. You might not even get as far as going to the shops; online shopping and home delivery further maximises our need for technology. Everything is simply a touch away. People are using technology to keep the wellbeing of their bodies safe, but in order to look afer our minds and to manage our feelings of disconnection, we need more connection through human touch and through our other senses. Through exploring human surfaces and our connection to bacteria through physical touch, perhaps people would feel more connected to each other in a human sense rather then through technology.

50


A-Z of Bacteria

51


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Q Queuing Rail

52


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53


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R Remote Control

54


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55


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S Steering Wheel

56


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57


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T Toilet Seat

58


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59


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U Utensils

60


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61


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V Vacuum

62


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63


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W Waterbottle

64


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65


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X X-box Controller

66


A-Z of Bacteria

Contact With people around the world practicing social distancing and self-isolation to curb the further spread of coronavirus, some are starting to feel the effects of a lack of human touch. Whether it's shaking a co-worker's hand or hugging a friend, most people are accustomed to some level of platonic physical touch on a daily basis. Touch is a crucial part of staying connected to people and to places too. Regular companionable human touch with your loved ones has the ability to calm nerves and improve a person's mental health significantly. Whilst there is nothing that can successfully replace it, we can find many other examples of connection through physical touch. One few include our contact with animals, our interaction with objects such as


Scratching the Surface

X X-box Controller

phones or appliances and our interaction with surfaces. The common denominator in all of these is bacteria! It is important for us to realise that we are connected through our everyday actions of passing, spreading and sharing the kind of bacteria showcased throughout this book. By exposing the invisible world of bacteria, we are able to see the evidence of human touch even in the middle of a lockdown.

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Y Yoga Mat

68


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Z Zip

70


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Typeface Growth + Development

72


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Letter ‘G’ Development - Day 2 + Day 6 73


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Bacterial Typeface

74


A-Z of Bacteria

The Beautiful World of Bacteria by Liesl Ulrich- Verderber “Bacteria are microbes; organisms that are too small to be seen without a microscope. Generally, microbes include bacteria, archaea, fungi, protists, and viruses. As a group, they've been around for at least 3,500 million years and, for a long time, were the only form of life present on this earth! But unlike most other organisms, the cells of bacteria are very simple; containing no nucleus or membrane-bound organelles. Bacteria, both good and bad, live in almost every environment on the planet. “Good bacteria” are in some of our favorite foods, like cheese and yogurt, keep us alive, and enable ecosystems to thrive. With all these wonderfully diverse bacteria populations living out there, one of the most fascinating places to study them has to be in cities. Take New York City for example, where people from around the globe are visiting daily

Fully grown bacterial typeface (grown over 6 days).


Scratching the Surface

Bacterial Typeface and bringing along their personal bacteria collection for the ride! So, why does all this matter to help reframe our understanding of bacteria? Well, it's helpful in explaining that not all bacteria are horrible. They won't all cause strep throat or make us sick. In fact, the vast majority of bacteria are completely harmless and even really beneficial to humans. Less than 1 percent of bacteria are harmful to humans. Our bodies wouldn't be able to function correctly without the help of the bacteria in our microbiome. Through creating art or by bringing scientific research home, making the microbial world visible helps us to understand it better, to fear it less, and come to appreciate how rich our worlds are because of the bacteria around us. Like us, they have complex and fascinating lives that impact the world around them. We have a lot to thank them for!” 74


A-Z of Bacteria

Fully grown bacterial typeface (grown over 6 days). 75


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The English Alphabet (in chronological order)

A B C D E F G H I J K L M

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1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13

N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

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14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26


A-Z of Bacteria

The Bacterial Alphabet (in order of dirtiest to cleanest surfaces)

V Q W G P S Z B H Y O A K

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1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13

C N X R L D J T F I E U M

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14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26




Produced + Edited by Jodi Atkins