Anicka Yi's 'Life Is Cheap' Exhibit is Made from Living Bacteria

By: Joey Haar - Apr 10, 2017
References: guggenheim.org & wired
Art is almost always a form of death — even so-called still life paintings depict things that aren't alive themselves — yet Anicka Yi's 'Life Is Cheap' exhibit subverts such a concept to offer truly vivacious works. Yi's exhibit, which is on display at the Guggenheim Museum in New York, is made entirely from still-living material such as bacteria.

'Life Is Cheap' is both visual and olfactory. The exhibit is intentionally smelly, as Yi worked with forensic scientists and Parisian perfumers to amplify the scents from her biological samples (samples that derive from sources as diverse as a flower or an armpit.) She then works with biologists to encase and sustain the live bacteria that create these smells in plexiglass, letting spectators see what they can smell.