Science

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Art Science

The Human Microbiome Reimagined as a Cut-Paper Coral Reef by Rogan Brown

June 4, 2018

Kate Sierzputowski

Using the visual metaphor of a coral reef, artist Rogan Brown (previously) introduces his audience to the diverse bacteria, archaea, fungi found in the human body through paper-based sculptures. The detailed works are created after months of research and hunting for aesthetic parallels that might link the two surprisingly similar worlds.

His series Magical Circle Variations merge these sources of inspiration with a pastel color scheme that can also be found in a coral habitat. “What the reef and the microbiome have in common is that they both consist of biodiverse colonies of organisms that coexist more or less harmoniously,” Brown explains. “There are further parallels between coral and human beings in that we are both symbiont organisms, that is we depend on a mutually beneficial relationship with another species: coral only receive their beautiful colors from varieties of algae that live on them and human beings can only exist thanks to the unimaginably huge and diverse number of bacteria that live in and on them.”

Brown hopes that his intricate paper sculptures will allow his audience to more greatly conceptualize the bacteria-based landscape of the human body. Works like these will be exhibited with C Fine Art at the upcoming Art Market Hamptons July 5-8, 2018. You can see more of his work on his website.

 

 



Photography Science

Macro Infrared Photographs Unlock the Depth of Green in a Stunning Array of Canary Island Plants

May 25, 2018

Kate Sierzputowski

All images via Field

Marcus Wendt, creative director at the London-based studio Field, recently traveled to the island of Lanzarote to shoot a series of macro images of the region’s native plants. His project, Suprachromacy transforms cacti and other light-absorbing species into vibrant, multi-hued beings through infrared photography. Needles and spines of one species glow bright blue, while others are illuminated in deep orange tones.

The project was inspired by Isaac Newton’s quote, “For the Rays, to speak properly, are not colored. In them, there is nothing else than a certain power and disposition to stir up a sensation of this or that color.” Its intension is to spark inquiry about a color’s origin. Is color an inherent part of the object? Or is it an individualized sensation?

“For us, these alien color spectra spark ideas about how we see color, how much depth is locked up in the color green, and whether color is a property or a sensation,” says Wendt. “And also what plants might look like on planets under a different colored sun.”

You can see other technology and photo-based projects by Field on their website and Instagram. (via My Modern Met)

 

 



Photography Science

A New Aerial Video Captures Staggering Flows of Lava Heading Toward the Pacific in Hawaii

May 23, 2018

Kate Sierzputowski

Hawaii’s Kīlauea volcano has been erupting since May 3rd, and currently shows no signs of slowing down. The powerful flow of lava is emerging from fissures below the Big Island, pouring over homes, roads, and forests as it rushes downhill towards the sea. The true scope of the eruption is revealed in this aerial footage shot by videographer Mick Kalber. In the video one can hear the roaring of the lava against the helicopter’s whirring blades, creating an ominous soundtrack to the fiery liquid pooling on the ground below.

Kalber has filmed nearly three decades of volcanic eruptions during his time on the island. You can view several more of his videos, including updates on Kilauea’s latest eruption, on his website and Vimeo channel.

 

 



Amazing Science

The Surprising Result of Crushing Non-Newtonian Fluids and Crayons in a Hydraulic Press

April 29, 2018

Christopher Jobson

Warning: strong language. Over on the Hydraulic Press Channel, Finnish factory owners Lauri and Anni devised an awesome experiment to force a variety of soft objects like cheese, soap, and crayons through a plate drilled with holes with the help of their famous hydraulic press. The result is as funny as it is incredible, especially the squished crayons that seem to sprout straight up like sticks. The press is set to exert 150 bars of pressure (2,175 pounds per square inch) sending the various materials squirting in every direction in genuinely surprising ways. I’ve probably watched a few dozen of their videos over the years, and this is an instant favorite.

 

 



Dance Science

Spectacular Fans of Feathers Define the Vogelkop Superb Bird-of-Paradise Courtship Ritual

April 24, 2018

Laura Staugaitis

This short video from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology documents the spectacular plumage and mating dance of the Vogelkop Superb Bird-of-Paradise. In order to catch the attention of its female counterpart, the male Bird-of-Paradise flips its cape of black feathers into a large ruff that surrounds its head, while also fanning out an iridescent azure blue skirt of feathers from its breast. In a paper published by Timothy G. Laman and Edwin Scholes, this Indonesian bird was recently confirmed as a separate species based on its courtship behavior. You can learn more about the Vogelkop Superb Bird-of-Paradise in another video from Cornell and watch more videos about all things avian on the Lab’s YouTube channel. (via The Kid Should See This)

 

 



Art Design Photography Science

Artful Swirls of Plastic Marine Debris Documented in Images by Photographer Mandy Barker

April 19, 2018

Laura Staugaitis

SOUP – Refused © Mandy Barker. Ingredients; plastic oceanic debris affected by chewing and attempted ingestion by animals. Includes a toothpaste tube. Additives; teeth from goats.

Photographer Mandy Barker creates deceptively eye-catching images to document the pandemic of plastic debris in the world’s waterways. Barker, who is based in Leeds, UK, works closely with scientists to collect trash from our oceans and beaches on the edges of nearly every continent. One research expedition covered the debris field (stretching to Hawaii) that resulted from Japan’s 2011 tsunami and earthquake; she has also explored the Inner Hebrides in Scotland with Greenpeace.

Barker manipulates her findings in Photoshop, mimicking the manner in which ocean water holds these objects in suspension. Swirls of colors and patterns draw in the viewer’s eye, only to realize that these visually appealing compositions consist of garbage that animals have attempted to chew, plastic pellets, tangles of fishing line, and water-logged soccer balls. The artist describes her work in a statement on her website:

The aim of my work is to engage with and stimulate an emotional response in the viewer by combining a contradiction between initial aesthetic attraction along with the subsequent message of awareness. The research process is a vital part of my development as the images I make are based on scientific fact which is essential to the integrity of my work.

Barker is currently a recipient of a 2018 National Geographic Society grant. Her work is on display through April 22nd at Mexico City’s Museum of Modern Art, at Photo London Art Fair in May 2018, at the Triennial of Photography in Hamburg in June, 2018, and at BredaPhoto in The Netherlands in September 2018. The artist’s book, Beyond Drifting: Imperfectly Known Animals, was named one of the ten best books of 2017 by Smithsonian. You can see more of Barker’s photographs on her website as well as on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

EVERY… snowflake is different (detail) © Mandy Barker. Ingredients; white marine plastic debris objects collected in two single visits to a nature reserve on the East Coast of England.

EVERY… snowflake is different © Mandy Barker. Ingredients: white marine plastic debris objects collected in two single visits to a nature reserve on the East Coast of England.

Hong Kong Soup:1826 – Lighter © Mandy Barker. Discarded cigarette lighters make reference to our single-use throw away society. The panda, a national emblem of China represents endangered species and faces away from the group symbolizing mother nature turning its back on man’s inability to take ownership of its waste.

Hong Kong Soup:1826 – Spilt © Mandy Barker. 150 tonnes of pre-production plastic pellets (nurdles) spilt from a cargo container during Typhoon Vincente on 23rd July 2012 adds to Hong Kong’s waste issues in its seas and on its beaches.

PENALTY – Europe © Mandy Barker. 633 marine plastic debris footballs (and pieces of) recovered from 23 countries and islands within Europe, from 104 different beaches, and by 62 members of the public, in just 4 months.

PENALTY – The World © Mandy Barker. 769 marine plastic debris footballs (and pieces of) collected from 41 countries and islands around the world, from 144 different beaches and by 89 members of the public in just 4 months.

PENALTY – 24 Footballs © Mandy Barker.

SHOAL – 30.41N, 157.51E © Mandy Barker.Included in trawl: child’s ball and Japanese character – fridge magnet found on the tsunami shoreline. Fishing buoy found in trawl sample, North pacific Ocean

SHOAL 33.15N, 151.15E © Mandy Barker. Included in trawl: tatami mat from the floor of a Japanese home, fishing related plastics, buoys, nylon rope, buckets, fish trays, polystyrene floats, shampoo bottle, caps, balloon & holder, petrol container.

SOUP – Alphabet © Mandy Barker. Ingredients; plastic debris that includes surface text. Ironic random arrangement of 4 pieces of plastic that suggest a warning; ‘Sea’ ‘AND’ ‘HAZARDOUS SUBSTANCES’ ‘FOUL’

SOUP: Bird’s Nest © Mandy Barker. Ingredients; discarded fishing line that has formed nest-like balls due to tidal and oceanic movement. Additives; other debris collected in its path.

SOUP – Ruinous Remembrance © Mandy Barker. Ingredients; plastic flowers, leaves, stems, and fishing line. Additives; bones, skulls, feathers, and fish.

SOUP: Turtle © Mandy Barker.

WHERE © Mandy Barker. Ingredients; marine debris balloons collected from around the world.

WHERE (detail) © Mandy Barker. Ingredients; marine debris balloons collected from around the world.

 

 



Craft Science

Crocheted and Embroidered Bacteria Grow in Elin Thomas’s Fiber Art Petri Dishes

March 19, 2018

Laura Staugaitis

Elin Thomas creates petri dishes filled with mold, but she’s not using any week-old peanut butter sandwiches. The fiber artist builds her science experiments using a felted wool base, and then carefully crafts individual growths using crochet and embroidery techniques. Most of her creations are set in authentic 8cm borosilicate glass petri dishes, although she also makes free-form brooches and other accessories in a similar style.

Thomas has an MA in Visual Culture from Bath Spa University College, and she is based in the UK and Wales. The artist sells her work, including custom orders, on her website and Etsy store. (via #WOMENSART)