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ASTROArts Blog from Andrew Fazekas

Erika Blumenfeld: AstroArtist of the Month (Blog 3 of 4)

Erika Blumenfeld Title: Living Light No. 2 (Pyrocystis Fusiformis) Date: 2011 Medium: Archival digital pigment print Dimensions: 40x60 inches In collaboration with Dr. Michael Latz, Marine Biologist, Scripps Institution of Oceanography Description: In Living Light No. 2 (Pyrocystis Fusiformis), the expression of bioluminescence was instigated by the artist's own hand. The artist lightly tapped the container containing the bioluminescence, sending a manual pulse through the seawater that triggered their flashing. Each light trajectory represents the response of a single organism within the population, dramatically showing their bioluminescence expressed at the microscopic scale of the organism.   In 2001, I arrived at a new question in my art practice: could I work with bioluminescence as both subject and material for art-making. My inquiry led me to initiate a collaboration with Marine Biologist Dr. Michael Latz at Latz Laboratory at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in 2001 and then again in 2011. My intent was to learn about the wondrous life and cycles of marine bioluminescence, and document these organisms as means to reflect on our natural environment and our relationship to it. Marine bioluminescence – literally, living light – is widespread in the oceans of the world. Light emission is produced as a result of a chemical reaction involving the oxidation of a substrate molecule called luciferin. In the deep sea, where sunlight is absent, more than 90% of the animals are luminescent. In coastal regions, the primary source of bioluminescence is dinoflagellates, single-celled microscopic organisms that are common members of the plankton. The Bioluminescence series... Read More..