Instruments of the Afterlife, 2015

Keywords: phytoremediation, nano technology, synthetic biology, plant biology, contamination linking past and future, exhibition, performance

Instruments are created to transform contamination into valuable materials, by employing plants and engineered bacteria.

Instead of mining material from geological sources and using fossil fuels, that lead to environmental harm, could future generations use the contamination and pollution we leave behind to build their future world? Can they build balanced relationships with the natural world to be a no-waste civilisation?

A series of new instruments use synthetic biology, plant science and nanotechnology. Whilst cleaning the land, they remember the mistakes of the past and create materials to build a post-waste future. 

Instruments of the Afterlife









The piece responds to the scientific research, 'Cleaning Land for Wealth' (CL4W), funded by the UK's Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and supported by Creative Outreach Resource Efficiency (CORE) at Loughborough University.

The project involves science teams from universities at Birmingham, Cranfield, Edinburgh, Newcastle & Warwick. 




This is a summary of the work.
Want the full story about the Instruments of the Afterlife project?

When you subscribe to our newsletter (for free), we will send you a link to unlock the full information about our work.

We look forward to welcoming you on our creative journey!

Newsletter “Support”


Take home

Landscape Within Book:
Landscape Within

£ 10.00

After You
After You





See also

Contamination and future



Instruments of the Afterlife by Burton Nitta (Michael Burton and Michiko Nitta)

In collaboration with

Artistic team: Neil Luck, composer, __Lawrence Tatnall, musician, __Timothy Cape (Bastard Assignments): performer, __Josh Spear (Bastard Assignments): performer, __Emily Lloyd-Saini, performer, __Instruments of the Afterlife photography by Lenka Rayn H, __
Scientific team: Cleaning Land for Wealth (CL4W):_ University of Warwick (Link to CL4W webpage here): Dr Kerry Kirwan, Dr. Guy Barker, Dr Maria Sotenko, Neale Grant,__University of Edinburgh: Dr. Louise Horsfall, Dr. Matthew Edmundson, Dr. Michael Capeness, Dr. Virginia Echavarri-Bravo, __
Newcastle University: Prof. Adam Harvey, Dr. Valentine Eze, __University of Birmingham: Dr. David Book, Dr. Dan Reed, __
Cranfield University: Dr. Philip Longhurst, Dr. Ying Jiang, ____Loughborough University: Creative Outreach For Resource Efficiency(CORE): Prof. Jacqui Glass


Supported by


<< Back to home