To create View, Wightman will construct a steel bench that frames both the human industry of the Manhattan skyline and the microbial industry of Randall’s Island Park’s Little Hell Gate Inlet salt marsh. The site will contain unique microbial populations that will make a site-specific painting. Bacteria are model systems studied by microbiologists and offer much insight into our own cellular operation. Additionally, because bacteria can divide every twenty minutes, they also provide an observable model system for us to contemplate how patterns of reproduction, consumption, and waste have feedback on the very ecosystem upon which the culture depends. In this pairing of the micro and the macro world, a viewer may rest and contemplate how microbial cultures synthesize and recycle life within a finite ecosystem.
Just as the trees are changing colors, so is View.
If they could, I bet the bacteria on Randall's Island would like to watch their peers splash on the Big Screen of Lincoln Center this weekend! As part of Views from the Avant Garde the microbes from my Gowanus Canal living colorfield are featured in an elegant short by filmmaker Sarah J Christman. While you can't view her film online, my documentation of the Gowanus mud samples over 3 months can be watched on vimeo.
Manhattan skyline reflected.
I ran into Gabby and her friends a couple of weeks ago sitting on the bench - She interviewed the FLOW artists as part of the Bronx Museum People Make the Park program. So fun!
Today I met Derick who lives on Randall's Island -he's been enjoying the views from my bench. I filled up about an inch of water that had evaporated (the white pigment at the top had dried up and was cracked like old oil paintings). I tried out a polarizing lens to cut reflection (the bit of blue is a reflection from an IKEA bag. Kind of fun to see in the composition, even if it's an artifact, as I've never seen blue bacteria and I suspect it is because blue wavelengths are so powerful that no organism is foolish enough to toss those wavelengths away.). Dogs have dug up one leg so Derick helped me place a rock there until I get out there with a shovel to fill in the soil. Day 54.