Plump and pliant: experimental fluid retention for keeping formerly living biofilms life-like

Courtney Books preparing tests in the Speculative Life BioLab.

Researchers: Courtney Books, MA Conservation student (Queens University) – thesis research; WhiteFeather Hunter (collaborator), Speculative Life BioLab Technician/ PI and Research Affiliate

Project scope: “Immersion solutions tailored by the physiochemical performances of collagen/lipids (plasticizer), polysaccharides (stabilizer, emulsifier), and polyols/sucrose (humectant, cellular structure preservative) will be tested for reduced hygroscopy and protein damage experienced by cellulosic biofilms during dehydration…

The terrain of bioart preservation and display is largely uncharted; therefore this research will be experimental, with the principle objective to identify candidate solutions that offer pliancy and fluid retention to cellulosic biofilms; an ancillary objective will be identification of concomitant anti-biodeteriogen properties to allow for open-gallery display.” (excerpted from abstract, Courtney Books, October 2017)

This collaborative research builds on and provides different scholarly and scientific insight into the ongoing research in the Speculative Life BioLab with bacterial cellulose production.


Initial tests with various treatments.


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