We do not know if plankton have feelings, but we know that without microscopic life in our oceans we cease to exist. This two part installation highlights new ways of communicating science and developing empathy through the aesthetic of contemporary expressionism and public participation, while serving as a live demonstration of the impact of small advances in electronic imaging.
Banners of lively, appealing plankton, created by digitally melding gesture drawing and scientific micro-photography, are set in counter-point to a mural of enhanced ocean waters. Through AR the viewer discovers the mural contains loose drawings of plankton, created through public workshops attended by scientists, artists, and a broad public.
The works are collaborations between digital artist Cynthia Beth Rubin and Oceanographers in the Menden-Deuer lab at the University of Rhode Island, who gathered the raw imagery from oceans near and far.