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Luke Jerram: Ebola
Photograph by Luke Jerram

NATURA ARTIS MAGISTRA - ARTIS ROYAL ZOO

  AMSTERDAM  

30 September 2014through 20 November 2014

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Come and stroll in nature’s oasis in the midst of the bustling city. See more than 200 species of trees and more than 900 species of animals. Admire the gardens with their flowering bulbs in spring and study their rich vegetation in summer and autumn.
Artis boasts some of the most beautiful 19th century architecture in Amsterdam, of which the Aquarium is a fine example. Marvel at the stories nature has to tell you. See giraffes strolling with wildebeest, zebras, springbok and oryx, look under the water of an Amsterdam Canal an study planets and stars in the Planetarium. Or visit an exhibition in the Zoological Museum. Walk among butterflies and experience lemurs up close. Watch children and adults sketching from life. Take your (grand)children to play in one of the playgrounds while you relax under the trees or on a terrace enjoying lunch or a good cup of coffee. Artis Royal Zoo is a truly remarkable place where nature meets culture and where knowledge merges with pleasure.
Museum Micropia, Artis, Amsterdam permanent installation opening 30th September 2014.

The new Artis Micropia Museum in Amsterdam opened September 30. The exhibition presents several of Jerram's Glass Microbiology artworks including a new Ebola sculpture that was especially commissioned.
 
30/9/2014-20/11/2014
MICROPIA
shows the invisible
Natura Artis Magistra: the interconnectivity of life
Natura Art is Magistra (Artis) is a collection. A joining together of collections that complement and support each other. lt is a collection that spans the spectrum from living flora and fauna to the park landscape designed by human hands. lt extends from macro nature being made visible in the Planetarium to a historical archive and a collection of art objects. Science is also at the heart of this compilation of knowledge, with everything ranging from academic collections containing skeletons and other natural history objects to books and illustrations in the Art is Library (Artis Bibliotheek). A collection of historical buildings designed to accommodate this myriad of collections completes the ci rcle. The purpose of this family of collections was and is to facilitate learning a bout the natural world, expanding our insights and enlarging the knowledge of the world of plants and animals, stones and skeletons, sculptured animals and illustrated butterflies.
 
The foundations tor all these collections lie in developments and achievements of the past. This past has in recent years been steadily reassessed, revised and restored according to the vision of the master plan tor the future of a renewed Artis. But this vision has not yet been brought to full fruition. The future of Artis calls for a
paradigm change, a materially renewed basis. This is why an important new chapter is being added to the tradition of collecting, displaying and experiencing the natural world. lt is impossible to fully understand the interconnectivity of the natural world without knowledge of the most powerful, most successful and, at the same time, the smallest life form: micro-organisms. This invisible world will be revealed in the new Micropia museum using state-of-the-art aids. lt will give us the unique opportunity to become acquainted with a form of natural life that also lives on and in us. We are, after all, also part of the collection of natural life. This intimate connection between nature and culture will also be brought to light in the new Groote Museum tor Biodiversity and the Relationship between Nature and Man. Micropia and the Groote Museum will collectively reinstate Artis' musealogical tradition. The Artis Library is a project being carried out by Artis in association with the University of Amsterdam and the addition of its collection will furthermore contribute to the fulfillment of this vision in the future.
 
There will also be a spatial aspect to this new educational and scientific vision: Artisplein, comprising the renovated Ledenlokalen (Members' Rooms) and Groote Museum which is due tor renovation, will be the most important renewal in the history of Artis. The square is open to everyone and connects history with today's world, collections with the buildings that house him or her, the city with the park and education with the public. This is the mission of Artis: to help a wide public discover and experience the interconnectivity of life and nature and to encourage the love of and concern tor the natural I world. This objective is of vital importance to our civilisation: we cannot understand human identity without grasping how nature and human civilisation are fundamentally bound up in and dependent on each other.

The world's largest micro-experience, in the heart of Amsterdam

Leden lokalen: The visible natural world has been on display at Art is for a very long time but behind this is an immense invisible world, the world of microscopically small life. About two-thirds of all life on earth is not visible to the naked eye. These organisms are on your tongue, under your arms, in your intestines and on your skin. Whatever you think of, no matter how weird, microbes live on it, in it or round it. Huge numbers of viruses, bacteria, and fungi enter our bodies every time we breathe in. When we eat, hundreds of thousands of bacteria in our gut help us digest our food and stay healthy. All this goes on 24 hours a day. The microbes' only aim in life is to multiply. You carry about one and a half kilos of microbes with you every day of your life.
Around 700 species of bacteria live in your mouth alone and more than 100,000 bacteria belonging to more than 1,000 different species live on every square centimeter of skin. Microbes may be small but they are ever-present and determine the composition of our world. Without microbes, there would be no life on earth.
Micropia reveals this least visible yet most powerful of the earth's life forms.
Opening up a new area of nature fits in with the Dutch traditions of exploration, trade and the search for knowledge. It also fits in with the tradition of our institution, Natura Art is Magistra. The study of these enormously influential micro-organisms began in the Netherlands. In 1674, Antoni van Leeuwenhoek, discovered the existence of micro-organisms by chance when he looked at a drop of water through a homemade microscope and saw a world of tiny anima Is. Nowadays, scores of Dutch companies are global players thanks to their work on micro-organisms.
It is generally accepted that 99% of micro-organisms are yet to be discovered. It is very probable that many new uses for microbes will be discovered as a result of the exploration of the world at microscopy level, made possible by enormous technological advances, microscopy, information technology, and biochemistry.
Microbiology can help solve global problems, from water purification to developing new ways to cure infectious diseases, such as alternatives to antibiotics. There are microbes which 'eat' plastic and which could be used in waste processing. Algae- another form of micro-life- could be the raw material of the future. Micro-organisms can be used to produce energy, cosmetics, food and bio-plastics. And, with the help of microbes, cow and elephant manure can produce biogas, a sustainable source of energy. The uses are endless.
We have big ambitions. Micropia has been designed as a separate museum. A lot of research has been done and a lot of choices have been made around issues such as design and content. It would be wonderful if the concept could also be introduced to other pi aces in the world so that people in Tokyo or Cape Town could be introduced to the micro-world. Micropia is a bout a fascinating but, more importantly, an essential part of nature that we must get to know and get a handle on. If we can only widen, deepen and share our understanding of this immense, invisible world, it will open up endless possibilities.
Although there is an awareness of microbiology's enormous potential, there is also an enormous knowledge gap between the scientists and the general public. If there is any generally held view a bout the invisible micro-world at all, it is a negative one. Unknown is unloved. The idea people have is of filthy life forms that cause you
to itch, that lives on your skin, on your computer keyboard and even on your toilet seat. We associate bacteria with sickness and rotten food, but both humans and animals could not exist without bacteria.
History looks as though it will repeat itself. When Artis was founded in 1838, we actually had little idea a bout the range of exotic flora and fauna. There was so much that we did not know a bout the visible natural world. The same is now true of the invisible microscopic natural world. This is dangerous, because the lack of understanding and the preconceptions a bout microbes (dangerous and dirty) lessen support among the public for the scientific work being done and this has a negative effect on innovation and advances necessary for our planet's survival.
This is why it is all-important to inspire the general public to become interested in microbiology from an early age. Artis has 176 years of experience in interpreting complex science for the general public. Micropia will put this expertise at the service of microbiology, to improve its image among the general public. Inspiring school and further education students to choose science studies and scientific careers is an important part of this.



THE NETHERLANDS
AMSTERDAM
ARTIS
Plantage Kerklaan 38-40
NL1018 CZ Amsterdam
+31 900 2784796
http://www.artis.nl

Een uitsnede van de wand met 150 petrischalen met verschillende micro-organismen. Foto Micropia, Maarten van der Wal

Kunstenaar Luke Jerram ontwierp glasmodellen. Rechts het ebola-virus. Laborante van Micropia houdt het HIV-virus vast. Foto Micropia, Maarten van der Wal

Op de gezandstraalde ramen van Micropia zijn radiolaria (eencelligen) te zien. Ontwerp Wim van Egmond, 2014. Foto Micropia, Maarten van der Wal

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