Art of Science: A high-Tech Ode to Vanishing Species

Kirsi Kaulanen, Luola, Stainless Steel and Light, 2011

Absence and loss can be tricky concepts to convey in visual art, but sculptor Kirsi Kaulanen has found a way. In her 2011 sculpture Luola (Cave), Kaulanen uses industrial materials and modern technology to affectingly express the disappearance of the natural world. To highlight the loss of plant species in her native Finland, Kaulanen built a three-sided structure of stainless steel and used lasers to cut the shapes of plants in danger of extinction. She uses lights to throw the silhouettes of the plants onto the surrounding walls, creating an effect of shadows, or shades, like the ghosts of dead flowers. Visitors can enter the cave, combining their shadows with those of the plants, as a reminder that one day, we too will be gone.

You can see more of Kaulanen’s work at the Korundi cultural center in Rovaniemi, Finland, or at her website.

This Week in Virology Art

The most recent guest on This Week in Virology (or TWiV) is none other than our own Michele Banks. Michele welcomes host Vincent Racaniello of Columbia University into her home for an extended conversation about the hows and whys of her science-inspired art.

For those of you who are not regular readers of Michele’s Art of Science series, what I have always found fascinating about discussing art and the process of creation with Michele, is her engagement with the current art world and the history of art, with an honesty and clarity that is quite brave – when so many artists armor themselves (like scientists) against public judgment in overly complex jargon.

I can’t send Michele to everyone’s living room to have that conversation with you; but, thanks to TWiV, I can send Michele’s living room to you.

Science for the People: Biohacking

sftp-square-fistonly-whitebgThis week Science for the People is talking about do-it-yourself biology, and the community labs that are changing the biotech landscape from the grassroots up. We’ll discuss open-source genetics and biohacking spaces with Will Canine of Brooklyn lab Genspace, and Tito Jankowski, co-founder of Silicon Valley’s BioCurious. We’ll also talk to transdisciplinary artist and educator Heather Dewey-Hagborg about her art projects exploring our relationship with genetics and privacy.

*Josh provides research & social media help to Science for the People and is, therefore, completely biased.

Art of Science: Mr. Cunningham’s Dinosaurs

Illustration by Jack Cunningham
Illustration by Jack Cunningham

I stumbled upon the work of animator and illustrator Jack Cunningham the other day, when I saw 3D prints of his dinosaurs featured on CoolHunting. So I went looking for more, and I found his tumblr, which is full of pictures but almost devoid of words. And then I found…nothing.  So I really don’t know who Jack Cunningham is, where he’s from, or what his favorite color is, but I guess he likes dinosaurs. This drawing of people and dinosaurs on a busy city street made me wonder what life might be like if events had taken a different turn 65 million years ago.

3D Printed Dinosaurs by Jack Cunningham and Vincent Techer
3D Printed Dinosaurs by Jack Cunningham and Vincent Techer

Mammoth ain’t Mopey

I am very pleased to announce that the Mammoth is Mopey project of Jennie & David Orr passed its $104 funding goal on IndieGoGo last night. Personally, this means my kids will be getting a copy of this beautiful and inspiring book, one of our local libraries will be getting a copy of this beautiful and inspiring book, and that I will also be able to show my love for ankylosaurs on my messenger bag with a cool “Paleontology Fancier*” button.

Mammoth is Mopey by Jennie & David Orr (All Rights Reserved; Adapted with Permission)

It also means that you have one week left to pledge your support in the confidence that any pledge is actually a pre-order. You can get a print copy for only $15. My fellow parents know that $15 is actually a pretty good deal for an illustrated book that about which you are enthusiastic – and, if you are not enthusiastic about reading, art, and prehistoric animals, I really don’t know what you are doing here.

You can still take the “Which Mammoth is Mopey Character are You” quiz too. I got the artistic ankylosaur, which I think confirms the accuracy of the quiz beyond any shadow of doubt.

Ankylosaur is Artistic by Jennie & David Orr (All Rights Reserved; Used with Permission)

*More like fanciest – am I right?

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