New to the concept of BioArt? Read this post for an explanation of why we created this project.
So, without further ado, I present to you the most recent class's BioArt projects from the Arctic!
Each project displayed consists of a scientific research poster, which communicates the project in the traditional scientific format that explains the rationale, hypothesis, methods, and results. Those posters get displayed next to their art that communicates the research in a more creative way. As viewers travel around the hall, they would see exhibits that look like this:
|For example, Elisabeth and Alex explored whether diatom communities differed across types of aquatic habitats. You can learn more in their research poster. Their artwork is a composite of 36 sketch papers, serving as small "slides" that make up the overall landscape of Saana.|
Ana and Kristian studied the impacts of increased temperature and water availability on soil microbes in the Arctic. They used miniature greenhouses to simulate future climate change, and measured the activity of soil microbes as respiration. Read more in their research poster.
They created a short video piece, which is a sonic and visual interpretation of climate change induced glacial melt in the Arctic. All of the visuals, as well as some of the audio, were captured throughout the mountainous regions near Kilpisjärvi, Finland, and is accompanied with an original music score featuring a continuous flute solo by a local Phoenix musician. This immersive art piece follows the journey of water as it travels from mountain tops to marshy lands, and provides a creative perspective for the feedback loop by which this ecosystem is affected. You can see their awesome video here:
Their creative work is a 3-D environmental model that uses a combination of natural products and artificial foliage to allow viewers to touch and feel a representation of natural Kilpisjarvi soil. It simulates Mt. Saana Reserve, allowing the viewer to witness the effects of trampling versus staying on the trail. The flooring simulates the spongy, buoyant vegetation that was preserved outside the trails. The samples taken from the spongy areas were more difficult to obtain because of the plant roots that intertwined throughout reserve. The plant matter on the fabric is a visual representation of the different kinds of plants that were observed over the entire reserve. Many of the plants were layered over one another, and that layered effect was captured by bleeding the leaves on to the fabric. The green vegetation was the most abundant, so it was the first color to be hammered into the fabric. On top of the green color were plants that ranged in colors from red to yellow to purple. Finally, the last piece to simulate the environment is a visual and audio recording of trampling and hammering. The trampling was important to capture because of how it affects the land that we did research on. Each recording was taken on the different areas affected by trampling. Upon viewing this installation, your environment is meant to be transformed into the serene landscape where we had the privilege of working. You may choose to follow the trail to view the scientific poster or walk your own path.
Jose and Xavier investigated how pollen of Arctic plants could be used as crime scene evidence. Learn more about their project in their research poster.
They communicated this research through a two-part installation. They recreated a police bulletin board (kind of like ones we see in movies getting used to track evidence in a crime). Showcased on the bulletin board are pictures taken at the Kilpisjärvi Biological Research Station. They show where several pieces of clothing evidence at the crime scene simulation contained various pollen spores. Red string is used to convey the possible connections between the photos. In the upper right corner, a newspaper speculating about the crime scene simulation is on display. They also created an audio-video display depicting the process of examining slides under a microscope. The camera captures the movement of several slides under the lens as an examiner searches for pollen spores. The video is accompanied by the recorded sounds of the environment in which evidence from clothing at the crime scene was discovered. Curious about their video? You can watch it here:
Robin used his interest in the social sciences to explore how habitat fragmentation is impacting reindeer, and therefore Sami culture. Historically, reindeer would migrate across areas of northern Scandinavia with the seasons, followed by the Sami reindeer herders. But the Arctic is changing, not just in terms of climate and species phenology, but also geography. As countries have erected fences along their borders, reindeer are not able to move according to natural migration patterns, which impacts the reindeer and therefore the Sami who rely on them for their livelihood.
He expressed these relationships in his artwork using materials representative of traditional Sami costume, with rocks and antlers representing the natural aspects of the Arctic landscape. You can see the presence of the fence, and the difference in reindeer numbers and movement to the left of the fence as compared to the right of the fence.
Alex, Karla, and Mariam did not travel to the Arctic with our group. They took a non-traveling version of the course, where they studied the Arctic from afar, by simulating the Arctic Ocean in their back yards. They studied how UV radiation from the sun breaks down plastic that gets created and released at mid-latitudes but can make it all the way to the Arctic through ocean currents. Learn more in their research poster.
(Like BioArt and want to see a few examples from the Sonoran Desert, as well? See our sister Desert Soils blog.)