I am going to be pursuing the idea I presented as a part of Knit Your Own Drug Test. I have collected four urine samples (and am expecting two more) from anonymous donors and myself. I am now fermenting these samples for a couple of weeks. I have dyed with mushrooms in the past and have been debating whether I should continue with that or choose something new such as beets or carrots.
Ideally I would be able to grow my own vegetables but time won’t permit that for now. It could be interesting to grow two batches of vegetables: one that is fertilized directly with the urines and one that only has the urine applied later, as a mordant.
(Update: I am now collaborating with Ken Amarit on this project! Depending on the results of our tests this weekend we are considering planting and conducting more tests in his backyard garden.)
I am hoping that the metals and other substances in the urine samples will be concentrated enough to alter the color of each dye bath. I will be dyeing yarn that I can then knit into a sort of data visualization scarf or other object.
I am also gathering data about diet and drug use from each donor in hopes that I can discover some loose correlations.
This project is about making people aware of the alternative uses of parts of our current waste stream. Thus, if the thought of wearing something dyed with your urine or the urine of someone else is upsetting to you, this project is for you. The reactions from people I have discussed this project with have been mixed and it has already led to some interesting discussions about privacy and waste.
Eventually, we could open an etsy shop where we sell inks made from urine, fibers dyed with urine, and even prints.
I am going to allow my samples to ferment for one more week. I will then be dyeing the yarns next weekend (5/3) and knitting my final during the next week (5/5-5/8)! The dye baths may then be composted or applied directly to plants as a fertilizer.
Fermented urine (6 samples)
Wool yarn for dyeing
Since I have always preferred making plans to executing them, I have gravitated towards situations and systems that, once set into operation, could create music with little or no intervention on my part. That is to say, I tend towards the roles of planner and programmer, and then become an audience to the results.