Friday, 22 July 2016

Canopy Invertebrate Sorting Images as Inspiration

While exploring the Natural History museum I came across a station call the 'Specimen Preparation Area', where the microscope view of one of the research scientists could be viewed on a monitor. The board explained, " Canopy Invertebrate Sorting - We are sorting and identifying Invertebrate samples that have been collected high in the canopy of the tropical rainforest trees (around 40m above the ground). We have to extract the insects, spiders and other invertebrates from the detritus that is also in the sample. Then we sort them into groups for later analysis. Many of the invertebrates are microscopic (less than 0.5mm) in size! We have to be very precise and careful picking them up and moving them around."

You could see the scientist  moving bits of insect and dirt floating in the solution which were lit from behind. It made them glow, some of the thinner particles becoming transparent, their edges alight. It made me think of the plants in the field that I use for my paintings. An over exposed image of a form in nature. The process I have been following with some of my sketches has been to magnify them, increasing their size, very much like what I now saw at the exhibition station which was designed to show a scientific process.

I also like the way they move and filmed a series of shorts I'll cut together as an experiment. It occurs to me that there is a sound that could match the images especially when the tweezers come into shot, potentially a metal sound and I'm interested in making some samples using such implements. Then putting them over the video as a sound track.

Another interesting aspect that I observed was that because the insect and dirt was floating in a solution it created a three dimensional effect. I'm thinking maybe I could set up a series of transparent troughs that I could stack and photograph from above. This could inspire my paintings and drawings but also be a work in its own right.

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