Fungus Fight! No really, it’s for art.

On this blog there’s been some debate as to the preservation of environmental art and its merits. When does a work that is meant to decay become not-an-artwork, that is, just another rotting thing?

Curators in Venezuela are determined to never let it get that far– at least, not with traditional works of art. Paintings, tapestries and wooden objects in warm climes are prone to attack from fungi, insects, and bacteria. The curators have amassed for the 4th Cultural Heritage Conservation Forum in Venezuela’s capital, Caracas.

Of the tools used to combat art decay, one is bacillus thuringiensis, pictured above. It produces toxin crystals , when ingested by offending insects, causes a swelling that leads to a fatal rupture. Yeah, it makes bugs blow up. It’s also used as a pesticide in agriculture. One website describes the effect as “dying after indigestion.” The bacterium has also been spliced into genetically modified crops, creating, of course, controversy.
Whether the use of Bt to preserve works of art is a step towards ecological balance or yet-another example of our industrial-agriculturalized society (wah wah waaaaah), it at least highlights an important factor: that no artwork, whether designed to decay or not, is impervious to ravages of little hungry needling organisms.

Thanks to Current.

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