No, this isn’t an alien planet. It’s a psychedelic work of art by Dasha Plesen using paints, pigments, foodstuff, and bacterial/fungal cultures from everyday life.

I don’t know about you, but when I see mold growing on something, my knee-jerk reaction is to throw it away. Daria Fedorova, on the other hand, busts out her camera, mounts a macro lens, and gets to work! Fedorova’s psychedelic artworks are more of a collaboration than anything else. She uses paints, yeasts, foodstuff, and biofilms to compose her art pieces, introduces microscopic fungal and bacterial cultures to the mix, and then lets nature take over as the molds grow on top of her abstract pieces of art, giving it a new appearance altogether.

Fedorova (who goes by her online moniker Dasha Plesen) hopes to redefine what it means to “create” art, and to explore how much of a role she plays in the creation. A lot of the artwork’s process is unpredictable, as Fedorova just allows the cultures to incubate over a period of 3-4 weeks, growing on top of the canvas she creates. The Russia-based artist spent 7 years researching microcultures and learning how to develop and control them. Most of her artwork occurs in controlled environments inside Petri dishes, and her microculture samples come from a variety of places, including “air, surroundings, body, and objects”, according to the artist.

It’s worth noting that no two molds/cultures in her artpieces are the same. They come from different locations and samples, and are the result of multiple natural bacterial and fungal colonies naturally propagating. Fedorova’s experimented with bodily fluids (like sweat, saliva, mucus, and milk) and even decorated her art with sprinkles and granules of sugar, adding pops of color to her “disgusting” art. The results are undeniably fabulous, that is, if you can somehow get yourself to look beyond the fact that those microbiotic cultures are incredibly unhealthy and potentially dangerous if exposed to humans (Fedorova does make it a point to safely dispose of them once she’s done). However, they make for great prints (Fedorova actually sells posters and tee-shirts)… and if you’re into NFTs, you can get your hands on some “CryptoFungi” too!

Designer: Daria Fedorova (Dasha Plesen)

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