Extra Credit: Invisible Earthlings Exhibit by Joseph Duy Nguyen

I attended the Invisible Earthlings exhibit by Beatriz Da Costa on February 27th for extra credit. The exhibit was a disappointment to me. For me it had no purpose besides telling people that they should be aware of microorganisms that are an essential part of our environment. We should not pay attention only to the macro species but also to the microorganisms. From what I know, that is the whole purpose of the exhibit.

So I helped out to set up the exhibit and it did not seem so bad. However, once I became part of the audience and viewed the exhibit in the perspective of an audience, I can’t help but give the exhibit a bad score. The exhibit mainly contained shelves with Petri dishes on them and an internet tablet attached to the wall above the shelves. Inside the Petri dish are supposedly the microorganisms. In total there are approximately eight shelves. Each shelf contains microorganism that are present in different location around Beatriz’s house. For example, there were some from the porch, under the garbage bins, bench, garage, and etc. Each location has various microorganisms, mainly bacteria. The bacteria name and a short description of each bacteria was displayed on the internet tablet which used a stylus. So yea, the audience is supposed to walk around and look at each shelves display. Beatriz supposedly used a scientific procedure to identify the microorganisms. Speaking from a scientific research point of view, the whole exhibit is pointless and has no credibility. The only thing she shows us is the final results of all the microorganisms around her house. Anyone can do that by just researching on the internet for microorganisms present in the human household. I’m not trying to be critical or anything but I just see no point in the exhibit. This is supposed to be an art-sci exhibit. I can see the attempt at the science aspect, but I do not see any for the art aspect.

Overall, I was totally disappointed at the exhibit. I was expecting something really interesting and different, but what I saw was nothing short of a high school report of microorganism around the household. The purpose of the exhibit was to make people more aware of how microorganisms play an important part in our environment. Well, I think this is a college environment and even people who are not bright know about microorganisms. In a sense, she is just reiterating common knowledge. People tend to not really discuss about microorganisms because they don’t affect people’s life in a direct way. My extra credit blog sounds very critical of the exhibit but this is my honest thought about the exhibit. I didn’t even bother to discuss the various bacteria because a lot of those are common ones such as E. coli and Staphylococcus.

Here are some pictures I took of the exhibit:

Snapshot of Internet Tablet

Snapshot of Internet Tablet

Snapshot of exhibit.

Snapshot of exhibit.

-Joseph Duy Nguyen

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