What are we doing?
I spent sixteen months as artist-in-residence, working with scientists at University of Central Lancashire, looking into the hidden impacts of the way we live. This video is a snapshot of the conference and exhibition that formed the final showcase of the research outcomes.
Historic narrative in dust revealed by Dr Park – fascinating
“There shall be in that rich dust a richer dust concealed”
Where it is left to settle and left undisturbed, dust will form an informative yet fragile grey stratum. If they avoid the gaze of the avid cleaner, these deposits can be ancient and being made mostly of shed human skin, animal dander, and fabric fibres, a layer of dust, like sedimentary rock, can hold a fragile record of life, passage and occupation. Here I have collected dust samples from neglected and overlooked corners and crannies from ancient buildings. For example from Winchester Cathedral and Hampton Court, and examined these under a microscope so that each sample came to reveal its own unique story. I like to think of these as microscopic sagas that settled directly from the air itself, long after their participants had left the scene, and in the ensuing silence, the room’s atmosphere had stilled to allow this to happen
Value in wastewater
Last week, I presented illustrations for yeast and a microalgal species of Chlamydomonas. Today I will expound on part of this. Ongoing research is working to identify ways to circumvent the need for fresh water, a precious commodity, and costly fertilizer to cultivate microalgae for biofuel production. These microorganisms are a rich source of oils that can be integrated into our national fuel infrastructure. However, growing the amount of microalgae necessary to decrease our need for petroleum based fuel relies on a precious and ever deminishing resource, fresh water. Also needed are nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorous, usually in the form of fertilizer.
Microalgae are adaptable to environmental changes. Recent research shows several microalgal species that can be cultivated with no need for freshwater. Instead, these species, Chlamydomonas globosa, Chlorella minutissima and Scenedesmus bijuga, are grown in something we have plenty of; wastewater.
These microalgae are…
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Today I am writing about artists who work with the most nebulous of substances – air.
One such fascinating exponent is Dutch artist Berdnaut Smilde who creates real clouds inside rooms. Follow the link above to hear him explain how he marries science and art to create these beautiful but ephemeral works.
And heres his website to see more of his work. http://www.berndnaut.nl/index.htm
French company explore the world of bio – energies.
Who says size doesn’t matter – scale is one of the most important tools for sculptors – so if you’re into micro or even macro then you’ll be astonished at Japanese artist Takahiro Iwasaki work. I saw his exhibition at the Cornerhouse, Manchester and it was fabulous. Now I am writing about him in my sculpture book.
You may never look at the potential of a toothbrush the same again.
Manipulating scale is also of prime importance to British sculptor Rachael Allen – she makes tiny sculptures of personal vehicles, like this wheelchair, to raise issues about the human viewpoint towards ill health. Extraordinary craftsmanship and detail – so she’s in the book too. http://rachaelallen.com/
And then there’s the Argentinian artist Liliana Porter http://www.lilianaporter.com/ just wonderful witty juxtapositions – yep you guessed it, she’s in my book too.
A beautiful and eloquent portrait of Burma
One of the most amazing places I’ve visited so far, was Inle Lake in Myanmar. People are living on the water there – their houses stand on long poles, wading in the lake, their gardens float around and wherever they want to go, they have to take a boat.
They bath all together in the river, they are fishing with their hand-made nets and baskets, they role cigares and cigaretter, they weave cloth from the lotus threads, their kids are playing around and learning to row with legs – this is a very specific way of rowing, used in the region. They say it is much easier to see where to go and to avoid floating islands or other obstacles rowing like this.
I hope Beijing are hearing this.
The study also found that Southern California’s air chemistry has changed for the better. The amount of organic nitrates in the atmosphere — which cause smog’s eye-stinging irritation — has drastically fallen off, according to federal researchers.
Ozone and other pollutants have been monitored in the state since the 1960s. Since then the population in Southern California has tripled, as has the number of cars on the road. Nevertheless, tailpipe emissions have decreased.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences at the University of Colorado led the research, which analyzed decades of data and collected air samples from overflights in 2010.
The researchers credited the state’s stringent emissions standards with bringing about the pollution…
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