James Miller’s 40mm Snail Cinema

There are strange creatures among us.

Watching James Miller‘s lens study, aided by a Jean Michel Jarre soundtrack, I feel as though I’ve slipped into a science fiction film noir. My character sits alone in a large cinema, the kind found in the inner-workings of a government laboratory, beneath the earth. It smells of musk and decaying fabric. Curiously and with intent, I observe the foreign object in front of me, magnified almost beyond recognition, committing to memory all nuances of the creatures movements. I prepare myself for our encounter ahead. The mission leaves day after next.

via The Fox is Black

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Katie Scott’s scientific illustrations for an alternate universe

UK illustrator Katie Scott has developed a style all her own, dwelling somewhere within the realms of science textbook and vintage psychedelia. Her posters present organisms both odd and familiar, interweaving them until we no longer know what it is, or was. It’s as if these are pages fallen from an ancient encyclopedia, documenting life in an alternate universe, now lying somewhere on the floor of a great subconscious library. Thankfully, Katie has unearthed them for us to study and observe as fungi become amoeba, then evolve into water-colored bilateral cephalopods.

You can see more of these alternate perspectives of science on her site. There are also prints available which I imagine have the ability to fuel many hours of thought. I need one to put on my bookshelf, next to Netter’s.

via but does it float via It’s Nice That

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Chernobyl, 25 years to contemplate on

Listen to Peter Cusack “Chernobyl Dawn” & “Chernobyl Frogs”

Peter Cusack – Chernobyl Dawn "Peter Cusack – Chernobyl Dawn"
Peter Cusack – Chernobyl Frogs "Peter Cusack – Chernobyl Frogs"

Twenty five years ago today, reactor number four at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant exploded, resulting in devastation still felt daily by those in the area. When it happened, I was only three years old and half the world away so I can’t speak from any firsthand experience. That doesn’t mean it hasn’t effected me. As a perpetual student of biology I’m captivated by what humans are capable of, building and destroying, and by how resilient nature can be despite our accidental efforts to wipe it out. Today, my thoughts are weighed upon heavily by all the lives forever altered by our quest for progress.

Above are field recordings by sound artist, Peter Cusak, that were captured on May 6, 2006 in Chernobyl, Ukraine. These “Chernobyl Choruses” are studies on how nature seems to be thriving in the absence of people. The photo is from mattbr’s photostream.

All I ask is that you spend a few minutes listening. Contemplating.

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Under the White Sea, speculating

Dreaming of another world, full of shapes, colors and creatures both foreign and fantastic needn’t take your thoughts to distant space…

That’s how I was going to contextualize the Clione 1.0 Underwater Experiments of Alexander Semenov but I wasn’t particularly inspired by that thought as I’m sure I’ve heard it in a nature film somewhere. So there these images sat, idle in my drafts, until something more interesting came along, until this morning.

I was walking to work in a thunderstorm, dodging deep puddles and rivers in the street as lightning lit up the city. I thought to myself, what if this down pour never stopped? What if the city was completely underwater? Today, it would be tragic and on every newscast, but what about centuries from now? How long would it take for it to pass out of our collective memory, the way the origins of our oceans and the life within it have for us today? Say it happened to all modern cities, all current civilization. How much time do you think would have to go by before we start exploring this new world, speculating as to how structures made of concrete and steel could have grown out from the earth? Collecting specimens of a man-made society without the knowledge of man making it. Would it just be another phase in history to keep us occupied and keep our imagination fueled with wonder? The same way Aurellia aurita tentacles and sponge caprellas do to us now?

Do some more speculating and digital exploring within Semenov’s galleries here.

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The Aurora

Terje Sorgjerd spent a week in national parks bordering Russia. Armed with patience and a motion control dolly he endured the -25 degree Celsius temperatures to capture this dance of the spirits. As I watched the sky birth florescence I began wondering what this must have been like for the first man to wander the arctic. Without being jaded by omnipresent visual effects or explained in terms of ions, photons or magnetism, what would seeing the shifting night feel like? Would it resemble a dream? Could this have been the source of his very first dream? Was he brought to his knees by terror seeing his ceiling morph? Or did it fill him with an unexplained warmth forcing the bitter cold from his mind? Whatever effect it had, it must have been powerful, spiritual, and the source of many stories shared with any he encountered. But without experiencing the aurora borealis first hand I’m sure they would have thought his stories to be the ramblings of a mad imagination, warped by arctic isolation.

Side note: I’m not a huge fan of the editing or soundtrack choice, but it will fuel the wandering mind nonetheless. I recommend muting it and scoring it yourself. I accompanied my daydreaming with Memoryhouse.

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Think or Smile | Nathaniel Whitcomb © 2011