The Institute of Unnecessary Research

Director   The Institute of Unnecessary Research Meets The Egyptian Bioart Club   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   

“If we knew what it was we were doing it wouldn’t be called research, would it?" (attributed to Albert Einstein). “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

The Romantic Disease: An Artistic Investigation of Tuberculosis from Anna Dumitriu on Vimeo.

Anna Dumitriu’s work is at the forefront of art and science collaborative practice and has 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, London, UK and The Irish Linen Centre, Lisburn NI. 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 is a Visiting Research Fellow: Artist in Residence with 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.

Normal Flora: Bioart Responses to Modernising Medical Microbiology from Anna Dumitriu on Vimeo.

She was winner of the 2012 Society for Applied Microbiology Communication Award. Her major Wellcome Trust funded project “The Romantic Disease: An Artistic Investigation of Tuberculosis" is now touring internationally.

Exploring The Romantic Disease from Annabel Slater on Vimeo.

She is currently working on “Sequence" which explores whole genome sequencing of bacteria and is funded by Arts Council England. Her book Trust me I’m an Artist, Towards an Ethics of Art-Science Collaboration which investigates the novel ethical problems that arise when artists create artwork in laboratory settings was recently published. A consortium, with Dumitriu as lead artist, was recently awarded Creative Europe funding to develop this project.