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Artist Creates Outrageously Detailed, Beautiful Papercraft Microbes

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There is something particularly glorious about art that takes some aspect of the mundane or hidden world and reveals its often unseen beauty. Such is the case with the papercraft art of Rogan Brown. Based in southern France, Brown uses bacteria and other microscopic domains of nature as inspirations for his hyper-detailed, monochromatic paper sculptures. His most recent piece, “Cut Microbe,” is Brown’s interpretation of the E. coli bacteria.

The artist writes of his work on Bored Panda:

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“Cut Microbe” is a sculpture entirely hand cut out of paper. Measuring 44 inches/112cms in length, it is half a million times bigger than the E. coli bacteria upon which it is based. I wanted to create a sculpture that reflected in the process of being made the incredible scale and complexity of this microbiological world. I am amazed at the strange beauty of the natural world and wanted to open people’s eyes to aspects of it that they rarely see.

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I was commissioned to make this sculpture for the Eden Project in the UK. It will be part of a new exhibition centre entitled “The Invisible You,” exploring the Human Biome, that is the vast colony of microbes that live on and in our bodies. There are countless millions of these bugs swimming around our intestine like alien jellyfish! They play a crucial role in the functioning of our bodies.

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For those who don’t know, Escherichia coli, or E. coli, is a bacterium frequently found in the lower intestine of human beings and other warm-blooded animals. Most E. coli live in the gut quite harmlessly, but others can cause illness.

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You can see more images of “Cut Microbe” and other papercut wonders of Rogan Brown on his website.

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Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. And he has a new best-of writing collection and “lazy man’s memoir,” called Borg Like Me.

View more articles by Gareth Branwyn