Author Archives: michelebanks1

Art of Science: Lita Albuquerque’s Magic Pixel Dust

 

Lita Albuquerque’s installation Beekeeper (2006), now on view in Santa Fe, is a piece that is much more compelling than the artist’s own description of it would lead you to believe.

According to Albuquerque, “Beekeeper (created in collaboration with Chandler McWilliams and Jon Beasley) is a pair of video projections controlled by generative computer software. The individual pixels that make up the image of the beekeeper separate and move out into space, dissolving the solid form into its constituent parts, spread until the entire wall is covered in a sea of slowly moving pixels, then reverse direction, heading for their original position. The software allows each pixel to choose its own unique path every time, creating a work in a constant state of becoming.” (source)

The artist has said that her goal with this work was “to present the visual similarity between a beekeeper and an astronaut,” which she approached by “[creating] a narrative around which the beekeeper’s aim is to help maintain biological life on the planet and the astronaut became the starkeeper maintaining life in the cosmos.”

On that level, this piece doesn’t work for me. In fact, it makes very little sense. The main visual similarity between apiarists and astronauts is the fact that both wear protective suits. Beekeepers, at least until very recently, were more interested in producing honey than in “maintaining biological life on the planet”, and astronauts are “starkeepers”, protecting the stars and planets from intergalactic threats, only in the movies.

As art that explores how we see and comprehend the world, however, Beekeeper is sublime. Just thinking about how the pixels gather and disperse could keep your mind working for hours. And as a statement about what we human beings are – collections of particles in constant flux – Beekeeper approaches the profound.

You can see Beekeeper in the exhibition Inventory of Light at Peters Projects in Santa Fe until April 25th, and you can find more work by Lita Albuquerque on her website.

 

 

 

 

Science Caturday: Funding Lags for Cosmocats

nasabudget

NASA astronaut Scott Kelly and Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko lifted off Friday from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan to spend almost a year on the International Space Station.  Kelly’s long sojourn in space will beat the U.S. record for longest-duration spaceflight by more than 100 days. Kelly and Kornienko will be closely monitored for studies aimed at determining the effect of long-term spaceflight on the human body. Former astronaut Mark Kelly, Scott Kelly’s identical twin, will be monitored on Earth as a control subject for the unusual yearlong experiment.

Still no word on when a cat will get a chance to go to space, and from the looks of Commander Kibble (above), the technology and funding are still lagging for this important scientific endeavor.

Science Caturday: Quantum Kitteh Spin

I’m just going to have to trust that the quantum physics here is correct.

quantumkitteh

 

Art of Science: Anna Garforth’s Big Bang

Anna Garforth, The Big Bang, 2012

Anna Garforth, The Big Bang, 2012

I like art and I like science. Most of the time, I think that getting the science right makes the art stronger. In this case, well, what the hell? Anna Garforth’s The Big Bang is an installation assembled from hundreds of moss tufts collected from stone walls around Hackney, London. According to Garforth, “the installation depicts Mother Earth as a seed shattering explosion.” So what if plants didn’t show up on our planet until billions of years after the Big Bang? Sometimes, it’s the feeling that counts, and Garforth nails the idea of a sudden eruption that brought forth life on earth.

You can see this piece and lots more of her work on her website.

Science Caturday: Pi Day Edition

frompi

It’s Pi Day! Today’s date, 3.14.15, rolls around only once every 100 years, making it an even more special Pi Day than usual. In fact, at exactly 9:26:53 AM, the date and time will describe pi to 10 digits  (π = 3.141592653). Since it’s Caturday, you may have slept in and missed it. But don’t worry, you can still celebrate by doing geometry problems, eating pie, and reading about why Josh thinks Pi Day should fall in February.