Bacteriograms by Erno-Erik Raitanen, 2008-2010

Erno-Erik Raitanen: “Bacteriograms”, bacteria, colour negative film, 2008-2010

[UPDATE – April 25, 2012] As of April 2012, Erno-Erik Raitanen’s official website is not responsive. All the links to this website are therefore broken (CV and artist statement). I wasn’t able to locate any recent activity by Erno-Erik Raitanen on the web. If you know how to contact him, please feel free to let me know and I’ll update those links.

Erno-Erik Raitanen is a Finnish artist currently living in London, UK. In 2008, he got his Bachelor of Arts with First Class Honours in photography from the University College for the Creative Arts at Rochester, UK (Bio PDF). Artist statement:

As the name Bacteriograms implies, this series is closer to photograms than photographs. These images are made without a camera, by cultivating bacteria on the gelatin surface of the negatives, using a similar process as the one used in laboratories to grow bacteria on agar in petri dishes. With this work I want to raise questions about representation and reality; the nature and the place of photographic medium in contemporary society.

I have gathered the bacteria samples from my own body. The bacteria consumed the film surface producing photographic images that are entirely created by a chance. I have been removed from the process but, at the same time, the images are a product of my body; self-portraits.

I see Rorschach inkblot test with black ink on a white paper as the closest reference to Bacteriograms. Only individual’s perception and psyche dictates the representation of the image and therefore is supposed to reveal something from the viewer’s subconscious. Bacteriograms play with the way we perceive and read into photographs by offering the viewer a photographic blot to project their representation.

Bacteriograms are not even showing the bacteria that created them; they merely show the traces of bacterial activity. These images are just a piece of degraded and therefore deconstructed film, which reveals us the components that create the illusion we perceive as a reflection of the reality in the photographic image. (PDF)

Via Who Killed Bambi.

If you like this specific kind of artistic endeavor, make sure to visit the Microbial Art website.


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