The Institute of Unnecessary Research

Director   Honorary Founder   Anatomy   Engaging Art and Science in the Arab World   Artificial Life   Astrobiology   Augmented Consciousness   Colour   Contemplation   Cryptozoology   Culinary Arts   Digital Simulacra   Entomology   Ethics   Intangible   Lichen Hunting   Living Codes   Meaning of Sound   Microbiological Systems   Neuroplastic Arts   Organised Agitation    Physarum Dynamic   Projective Geometry   Psychology   Robotics   Statistical Probabliity   Stitches and Sutures   Textile Abuse   Tissue Culture   Viral Contagion   Virtual Reality   Supporters   

Einstein said: “If we knew what it was we were doing it wouldn’t be called research, would it?” “The Institute of Unnecessary Research” presents a new paradigm in the way artists are engaging with the world through transdisciplinary practice and connective aesthetics. Bringing together art, science and philosophy by creating participatory audience experiences, performances and installations. Sometimes humorous and sometimes grotesque, their work pushes the boundaries and critically questions the means of knowledge production in the 21st Century. Artists are innovators, if a new piece of technology or a new medium, becomes available; artists want to try it, to experiment with it- from microbiology to robotics; from tissue culture to neuroscience. Some artists take on the role of a scientist in almost a performative way and some scientists become artists themselves. Philosophy and ethics is always at its core and the work unpacks the instrumentalization of science for commercial and political ends. Forms of “connective aesthetics” are used to engage the audience in a participatory experience that extends and generates new outcomes throughout the exhibition and go beyond simple interactivity, throwing authorship into question, as members of the audience are inspired to become Unnecessary Researchers in their own rights. The IUR is a hub for researchers and artists working experimentally and deeply engaged with their specific research areas. We present our research through performative and experiential methods, engaging the public and new audiences in our ideas. We organise performance events (many of which can be seen here) in art galleries and other non-traditional settings (including: universities, businesses and festivals) to engage the public in our research and meta-research. We also create participatory workshops, where participants become the researchers and learn about our work experientially. We are specialists in our specific research fields and deeply committed to making our work accessible. We offer exhibitions (curated around specific themes in our research), talks and organise symposia and are able to suggest speakers for events. To organise a special IUR event, get involved with our work, be kept informed about events or for permission to use images please contact us. For more information contact
Director - Anna Dumitriu

Anna Dumitriu’s work blurs the boundaries between art and science with a strong interest in the ethical issues raised by emerging technologies. Her installations, interventions and performances use a range of digital, biological and traditional media including live bacteria, robotics, interactive media, and textiles. Her work has a strong international exhibition profile and is held in several major public collections, including the Science Museum in London.

Dumitriu is known for her work as founder and director of “The Institute of Unnecessary Research”, a group of artists and scientists whose work crosses disciplinary boundaries and critiques contemporary research practice. She recently completed a Wellcome Trust commission entitled “The Hypersymbiont Salon”, is collaborating as a Visiting Research Fellow: Artist in Residence in the Department of Computer Science at The University of Hertfordshire and Artist in Residence on the Modernising Medical Microbiology Project at The University of Oxford (initally funded by a Leverhulme Trust award in 2011).

Her major international project “Trust me I’m an artist, towards an ethics of art/science collaboration” (in collaboration with the Waag Society in Amsterdam and The University of Leiden) investigates the novel ethical problems that arise when artists create artwork in laboratory settings.

She is a Visiting Research Fellow: Artist in Residence with the Computer Science Department at The University of Hertfordshire.

She is also co-chair of the Alan Turing Centenary Arts and Culture Subcommittee, and artist partner with Waag Society on the ICT & Art Connect Project. She was winner of the 2012 Society for Applied Microbiology Communication Award and her major new Wellcome Trust supported exhibition “The Romantic Disease: An Artistic Investigation of Tuberculosis” opened in London in January - March 2014 and is now touring internationally.

(Photo credit: Beatriz Rey)

For for digital art, robotics and curating projects see and for Bioart and Bacteria projects see

See CV here.

Follow @annadumitriu on Twitter.

For more information contact