GK: A cloud chamber is a scientific device used to see the paths of travel of invisible cosmic particles as they move through our world. I created that piece in collaboration with our friends Dan Goods and David Delgado from JPL/NASA. We took the mechanics of the instrument and created a large-scale sculptural adaptation that is much more active than most cloud chambers, and more importantly, is shaped to create multiple viewing stations, allowing for simultaneous observation.
As particles travel through a refrigerated chamber, their trails are made visible as thin clouds of evaporated alcohol vapor. Like real magic, lines streak in all directions, in different widths and shapes, some straight as an arrow, some meandering in all directions. These are inorganic objects flying through space, but rendered visible in the artwork, they look organic and alive. When a particularly bright or fast or slow or wide one appears, and multiple people are there to witness it, it becomes a spectacle. These images remind us that there are other things we cannot see, the radio waves that allow for sound and Wi-Fi, and yes, the microscopic organisms that can cause disease. The cloud chamber is a portal to a dimension of our world that constantly surrounds us. It is a humbling reminder that we are not in control of everything.
The wishing well is a large sculptural tank filled with bioluminescent dinoflagellates. When a viewer comes into the room, a low glow reveals a crystal-shaped tank. The viewer will have three different token sculptures that they will be able to toss into the water, each time while making a wish. As the tokens fall towards the bottom of the tank, they agitate the dinoflagellates and create a brightly lit trail of their path, a visualization of hope.
In this work, the viewer is the agent of visibility, their actions have a direct correlation to the images that appear. In contrast to the cloud chamber, the wishing well is an offering of calm, a symbiotic relationship to the unknown, where the presence of an invisible life form is performed as a collaboration between viewer and viewed. The wishing well project is part of a larger system of investment into captive-bred propagation and husbandry of rare creatures that is a symbolic and practical gesture towards understanding how art can have impact.