Wood Spirit – Amber Acid (2023) is a commission in the “Fermenting Futures” series that takes the form of a sculptural necklace which tells the story of cutting-edge biotechnology research to produce sustainable carbon neutral nylon fabric via a yeast known as Pichia pastoris that has been modified to be able to feed on a methanol (which used to be produced via the destructive distillation of wood and was known as ‘wood spirit) and output succinic acid which was historically obtained from amber by a distillation process and was known as amber acid.
Succinic acid is also used to create orange, red and purple acrylic paint pigments such as those used in this artwork. The work has been made used nylon fibre, amber, killed Pichia pastoris yeast expressing succinic acid and mCherry, glass, metal, resin, succinic acid, acrylic paint containing quinacridone pigments and diketo-pyrrolo-pyrrole pigment.
“Wood Spirit – Amber Acid” was part of BioArt Revolution/ Revoluția BioArt, an innovative solo exhibition by Anna Dumitriu which brought together contemporary artistic approaches and modern scientific experiments to address issues of global relevance such as infection, climate change, and diversity took place as part of Timișoara 2023 European Capital of Culture, from 30th September to 1st October 2023. The exhibition, which was created in collaboration with the Romanian Science Festival, took place in the stunning setting of Bastionul Maria Theresia, Galeria 2, Str. Hector, nr. 1, Timișoara, Romania.
“Wood Spirit – Amber Acid” was part of “BioArt Knowledge” at the Yarrow Gallery, Oundle, UK from 9th November to 6th December 2023.
Wood Spirit – Amber Acid is being created in collaboration with Professor Diethard Mattanovich, Dr Simone Bachleitner and Dr Özge Ata, Institute of Microbiology and Microbial Biotechnology of the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna, Austria. The piece is commissioned in the framework of their research on succinic acid production funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 programme in the frame of the VIVALDI project.