Figure 5. De:composition multimedia project and installation by Stephanie Rae Dixon. The multimedia installation included photographs, dresses at various stages of decomposition embedded in resin, a soundscape, and a box of live forest understory mosses and plants onto which a video of scientists dancing in the dresses in the field site was projected. Several opening receptions featured a live dancer performing in a decomposed dress. An infographic entitled “What is on a decomposing dress? DNA can tell us” (lower right) shows the results of DNA analysis used to identify microbes and other organisms whose DNA had populated a fragment of burlap dress while it was buried and decomposed in the research site. See Artists' Statement in Supplemental Materials, below.
Six photos of the De:composition multimedia art installation and the creative process behind it. An artist and a scientist work together to sew plant material onto a burlap dress resting on a lab bench. A close-up of the back of a dress worn by a scientist: a belt made of birch leaves sewn together is tied around the waist. Bare feet and the bottom of a dress emerge from soil and forest understory plants, with the body evidently buried. The full multimedia installation in the gallery includes three dresses at various stages of decomposition embedded in resin and hanging from the ceiling. Behind them is a box on the floor that contains live forest understory plants (mosses, lichens, berries, etc.). Photographs hang on the wall surrounding the installation. A dancer wearing a burlap dress lies in the box of live tundra plants with a video projected onto them from above that shows the research site in Finland where the project took place. A graph entitled “What is on a decomposing dress? DNA can tell us” shows the results of DNA analysis.
Photos by Stephanie Rae Dixon, Todd Paris, Brendan Hendry, and Mary Beth Leigh.