NOBA believes that in order to create a sustainable environment and way of living, we need to better understand the living.

Through our series of workshops we will introduce ways of working with living organisms, to rethink material possibilities, to look into nature for resources and collaborators and to rethink our way of collaborating with nature. We welcome you all to the first workshop in this series: Hunting for nature’s healing powers: soil, flowers and antibiotics.

Microbe Hunting

Norway is famous for its impressive natural scenery: every gift shop has postcards capturing the magic of its magnificent fjords, endless forests and uncountable lakes. But looking deeper, the Norwegian soil, air and water are home to a microcosmos of life. A part of nature invisible to the naked eye: bacteria, yeasts, viruses. Even our own bodies are filled with ecosystems of microbes, we never walk alone.
What do people do in the Norwegian nature? Besides hiking and skiing, Norway is a nation of hunters, and also recreational fishing is a common hobby. But did you know that there is a special class of hunters whose weapon of choice is not a gun, nor a fishing rod, but a cotton swap? They are the microbe hunters, and you could be one!


Antibiotics vs superbugs

Microbes can be harmless, beneficial, but can also cause harm. Biomedical sciences are continuously trying to outsmart disease-causing microbes (pathogens), for example through antibiotics. Most antibiotics are found in nature: they are the substances one microbial species produces to fight off competing species in the struggle to survive. Especially soil bacteria are a common source for new antibiotics.

Some of humanity’s existential risks, such as runaway climate change and nuclear war, are well known and often talked about. An existential risk that is often ignored in the public perception is that of large-scale disease outbreaks – although the current pandemic might put it in sharper focus. Besides viruses, an outbreak could be caused by harmful bacteria that over time become resistant to antibiotics,and are therefore sometimes called “super-bugs”. Because the bacteria are getting stronger, the number of functional antibiotics we can use to fight them is declining, and soon we might be without a weapon against some of these pathogens. Therefore it is of vital importance to keep microbe hunting!


Bio Cooking Show

In this workshop we perform a “cooking show” demonstration of how to grow bacteria and find antibiotics in soil samples. Live from the NOBA BioArtLab, we explain the steps in the process, from collection to discovery, and show you how to perform these. We invite you on a journey through the invisible world, along the way stopping at various BioArt examples related to the microworld. Inspired by a story from the Smithsonian Magazine (https://www.smithsonianmag.com/…/astonishing…/…) our soil will undergo a healing ritual by local sami, healer and shaman, Eirik Myrhaug.