GTM NERR Brown Bag Recap

I wanted to thank the staff at the Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve for inviting me to share my experimental animation with them and the reserve’s visitors. The facility is great for multi-media presentations and the questions from the audience underscored a genuine interest in my art. NERRs around the country do really important work. The GTM’s “State of the Reserve” on Dec. 2 is a great way to get an idea of what they do through a full afternoon of compelling presentations (Free registration here).

Though an intimidating prospect at first I love to present my work to people with strong backgrounds in ecology and science. Collaborating with people in these fields can give my work a context that allows it to connect with and inspire a wider audience.

The first half of my presentation was a short program of my animation. The last video in this part of my presentation entitled ‘gtmnerr’ is a sample of preliminary work made from Florida native plants. I received lots of questions about my technique and some great suggestions of things to animate including Resurrection fern and bee patterns. This next year I want to compile a significant body of work that reflects the biodiversity of Northeast Florida. Presenting at the GTM NERR is a great stepping off point.

The last half of my hour talk was about the social object or sharable device as described by Hugh MacLeod here and here. Success for me is when my work becomes the social object that starts a conversation about nature’s presence in our everyday lives and helps to solve problems like “plant blindness.” I proceeded to run through a list of my favorite ecology-based social objects and the studios, artists, and scientists who create them.

-Jurgen Otto’s Peacock Spider video and images – I was impressed at how Jurgen didn’t have to go far to find a little known species to study and document whose behaviour very nearly rivals the birds of paradise displays captured in those great BBC documentaries.

Whale Fall – a beautiful, hand-crafted film serving as an educational companion piece to the public radio program Radiolab‘s “loops” episode. Sweet Fern Productions

Nervous System – a design studio that works at the intersection of science, art, and technology. When they sent a tweet about a biomedical engineer wearing one of their pieces in a Science Friday video I thought “this is how the internet works.” Fans of Nervous System’s work would likely be interested in the content of the video in addition to the necklace cameo. A perfect example of the social object as a node where audiences interested in science and art converge.

Coral Morphologic/Morphologic Studios – perhaps the worlds only multi-media aquarium studio. I aspire to be the ‘Coral Morphologic’ of Northeast Florida native plant gardening. They’re another great example of serious science and serious art converging.

-WWF “The World is Where We Live” – a sleek and effective creative work. The audience at the GTM NERR was already prepared for dual channel or split-screen work since I included Pollenating II in the program.

Miraslaw Swietek – I recently discovered his unique take on the insect macrophotography niche. I was impressed by the dedication required to seek out these shots.

-Jennifer Angus (FastCo Design slideshow/homepage) – My new favorite installation artist also working with insects.

-Another FastCo slideshow just because I like their layout and functionality.

-Gale McCullough’s Flickr-based, citizen science humpback whale tracking (CNN Story).

I’m always looking to collaborate with scientists and researchers. It was my hope that the common threads in my presentation would give people ideas on how to leverage the web to make the great work done by NERRS and similar organizations accessible to the widest possible audience. Feel free to share your favorite art or science based ‘social object’ in the comments or send me an email.

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