Category Archives: Uncategorized

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: Dance, Opera and Particle Physics Combine on Film

symmovie

Dance, opera, digital art and particle physics unite in an intriguing new film, Symmetry, which was filmed partly inside CERN, the home of the Large Hadron Collider. The film, directed by Ruben van Leer, tells the story of CERN researcher Lukas (played by dancer and choreographer Lukas Timulak), who “is thrown off balance while working on the theory of everything and the smallest particle. Through Claron’s singing he rediscovers love.”  In the “endless landscape” of Bolivia’s salt flats, Claron (played by soprano Claron McFadden) takes Lukas back “to the moment before the big bang, when time didn’t exist.”

The film will debut at the EYE Film Institute in Amsterdam on March 14 as part of the Cinedans film festival and at the NewScientist CERN festival later that same week.

There’s much more information and a teaser for the film at The Creators Project and on the Symmetry website.

Science Caturday: Hot Take on Climate Change

meltingpoint

Both the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) released reports this week naming 2014 as the world’s warmest year. According to the NOAA report, the average temperature was up 1.24 degrees Fahrenheit over the 20th century average across all land and ocean surfaces.

NASA’s Gavin Schmidt said that greenhouse gases are responsible for the long-term warming trends, and that even if the entire world stopped emitting greenhouse gases tomorrow, it still would take many years to stall the rising temperatures. But we better get on it soon! It looks as though some kittehs are already beginning to melt.