The Sequence Dress

This 1960-style dress is impregnated with Staphylococcus aureus bacteria and video mapped with raw visual data from the process of whole genome sequencing the strain of the organism that lives on the artist’s own body. The processed and assembled 2.8 million bases of DNA that make up the genome of the bacteria is projected in a halo around the dress. Gaps in the data represent missing or unreadable sections of the genome.

The artist sequenced the bacteria as a starting point to investigate how this disruptive technology operates in both a practical and cultural context, set against a backdrop of privacy concerns, commodification of data, the threat of new pandemics, and the lack of new antibiotic treatments.

The dress is stained and patterned with the Staphylococcus aureus bacteria from the artist’s own body, as well as drug-resistant strains of MRSA and VRSA grown on dye-containing media, with natural and clinical antimicrobials.


Anna Dumitriu in collaboration with Alex May, Dr Rosie Sedgwick, and Dr James Price, Kevin Cole and Dr John Paul, Modernising Medical Microbiology
Cotton calico, sterilised bacteria, antibiotic and antimicrobial substances with video mapping of whole genome sequencing data