The Pathogen of War - Immersive Installation

A medical mystery about the unexpected aftermaths of war. In this interactive installation, Iraqi physician turned medical anthropologist Dr. Omar Dewachi will take users on a journey to explore the mystery of Acinetobacter baumannii, also known by its US moniker ‘Iraqibacter’ or ‘ the ‘invisible enemy’.

By pulling together pop culture references, war history, archives and science, this encounter will reveal how the consequences of long term sanctions and war can drive pathogens like Acinetobacter baumannii, which threaten the viability of antibiotics, and our health, globally.

Developed during with CPH:DOC and during a residency at the National Theatre Immsersive Story Telling Studio, in collaboration with Anagram.

Currently previewing at the Battersea Arts Centre as part of the Shubbak Arab Arts Festival. 27th June - 1st July 2023. Book here.

The Pathogen of War - Immersive Installation
  • Description
  • Credits

Multi-media interactive documentary installation.

The Pathogen of War is based on the personal story and research of medical anthropologist and expert on global heath Dr. Omar Dewachi. His work focusses on war, wounding, medical infrastructures and geographies, and the bacteria Acinetobacter baumanii.

The United Nations and other international agencies released a report in 2019 warning of the dangers of the rise of drug resistance. If no action is taken, they warned that drug-resistant diseases could cause 10 million deaths each year by 2050 and this would also cause much damage to the global economy. By 2030, antimicrobial resistance could force up to 24 million people into extreme poverty.

The World Health Organization has classified the superbug Acinetobacter baumannii, as a “critical” threat among its “priority pathogens” – a group of bacteria families that pose the greatest threat to human health. It also stands out as one of the most common pathogens associated with military conflicts.

In May 2023, there were news reports that AI had been used to find antibiotics that could treats infections caused by Acinetobacter baumannii.

The solutions put forth to tackle rising antimicrobial resistance fail to take into account the challenges of the health effects of warfare.

To find out more please visit:

Omar Dewachi

When Wounds Travel: Chronicles of War Biology East of the Mediterranean

The Rise of Antibiotic Resistance

Armed conflicts and antimicrobial resistance: A deadly convergence

Why Bacteria love war-wounds

Antimicrobial resistance and the Iraq wars: armed conflict as an under investigated pathway with growing significance

Iraqibacter and the Pathologies of Intervention

Scientists use AI to discover new antibiotic to treat deadly superbug

National Theatre Immersive Story Telling Studio Residency

Director – Yasmin Fedda
Creative Technologist – Gavin- Morris
Sound designer – James Bulley
Graphic designer– Pierangelo Pirak
Production assistant – Fisayo Ademiluyi
Set designer – Isobel Power Smith
Interactive Consultant/Theatre director - Ryan Van Winkle
Creative Producer - Dan Davies
Producer – Kirsty Jennings (Anagram)
Executive Producer – May Abdulla (Anagram)

Assistant Producer, National Theatre Immersive Story Telling Studio – Benjamin Smith
Head of Immersive Story Telling Studio – Toby Coffey