Saturday, 16 March 2013

The Cordyceps Plague of Middle England, 1886. - Part 1

Fig 1.

I saw the programme Planet Earth on BBC1 a while back and was struck by these strange organisms named Cordyceps. These are a type of fungus that invade the body of an unfortunate living host and develop inside them. The utterly bizarre thing being that the organisms then kill the creature and break free by changing the behaviour of the host for its own benefit. The clip below shows a doomed ant forced to climb high into a tree to gain the best point for photosynthesis, where the Cordyceps then reveals itself. Pretty grim but fascinating at the same time. 

I know the idea has been explored that humans and animals could become infected with the same fungus, and I was inspired to create a series of images. This project is going to be a set of images inspired by Victorian medical textbooks, suggesting that there was an outbreak in Victorian England. 

I know that this will be an enjoyable project that I hope will look visually stunning :). I will be using found images from bric-a-brac shops to create these collages, so let the rummaging begin! 

Screen-cap from BBC1's Planet Earth


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