Within the ongoing research project Genesis, I am studying the color properties of extremophiles, microbes that can survive or even thrive under extreme conditions. These life forms can be traced back millions of years, and are speculated to be the earliest forms of life on the planet. Their robustness and stability, even in environments as unforgiving as space, suggest they are likely the first sort of extraterrestrial life we expect to one day discover.

By sampling fluids from volcanic hot springs and high saline ponds during research trips to Iceland and France, I managed to isolate several strains that produce pigments. At the moment, I am conducting the next step in my research: attempting to track changes in the evolutionary process of the organism through color. With Genesis, I am hacking the origin of life, ultimately questioning who is in control.


Samples were taken from one of the oldest salt evaporation ponds in the world - dating back to the Romans - in the Guerande in France. This manmade ecosystem is a full, balanced collaboration with the tides and seasons, harvesting the salt in a non-harmful way. The ponds form a special zone with a variety in salination, from regular seawater to extremely saline. Micro-organisms thrive as the salter the pond, the less competition there is.

Halophiles, extremophile bacteria and algae that have the superpower to thrive in high saline environments, color the ponds in different shades throughout the seasons.

Microbiological research in collaboration with Federico Muffatto
& Arnold Driessen at Groningen University

Genesis is made possible by Waag Society, MU Artspace & Science Gallery Dublin

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