Mundus Subterraneous: the Templeman Library’s first commissioned art installation

The Templeman Library’s first commissioned art installation, is on show in the Templeman Gallery at various times throughout the year, among other events.

Mundus Subterraneous is an exciting new piece by artist in residence Sarah Craske, revealing the microscopic life forms hidden in the Library.

Sarah forensically swabbed items from our Special Collections to collect the microflora growing on them. She then cultivated them and documented their growth, blending it with an image from Athanasius Kircher’s seventeenth-century work Mundus Subterraneus from our collections. Using macro and timelapse photography, digital and analogue technologies, Sarah has created a short film depicting the beauty of the unseen microbial world in our books.

Watch the full installation and project background

Beyond the classic library activities of curation, discovery and provision of content, we now see the emergence of libraries as centres for collaborative learning and research. At the same time as digitising and curating our own physical collections, we are curating ever greater bundles of born digital content. Digital is convenient, accessible and available wherever you are. As we make this journey into the digital, fundamental shifts are happening to the way we experience libraries. Sarah was invited to work with our staff and students to explore some of these changes in the library experience.

As part of this project Sarah also created the Microbiota Archive. This is a colourful collection of photos of microscopic growths taken from the hands of Library and IT staff.

Pictured above: a still from the film.