Exploring the concept of books as centres of microbial data and data transfer through social and scientific enquiry, she encouraged audiences to think about their interactions with objects within archives and the contributions they can make at a microbial level, whilst in turn the contributions the archives can make to their own microbiome. Inadvertently libraries are not only custodians of objects, but of the microbiota of those objects, which we all in our own way contribute to. The Microbiota Archive aims to formalise the already existing microbiota collection that has invisibly occurred within ‘the library’ over decades.
During the performance Collecting Microbiota, 65 members of staff were encouraged to interact with the library’s archives, and they were then sampled. These samples were then cultured and imaged in her StudioLab.
The archive was published online in November 2015.