Friday, December 21, 2012

Winter Solstice

Happy winter solstice! Here in the Northern Hemisphere, I've always felt that the winter solstice and the coming lengthening of days is worth celebrating. As winter begins here, this will be the shortest day, and while it will be cold in the coming months, there will be more light.

Tyrrhenian Sea and Solstice Sky Credit & Copyright: Danilo Pivato, Source: via minouette on Pinterest

The length of days varies little at the equator, and in the high arctic and antarctic we have the midnight sun in summer and no sun over the horizon in winter. Surprisingly, we can use a Ptolemaic idea to explain this. In Ancient Greece, they imagined that the objects observed in the sky were placed on a series of concentric spheres around the Earth. While we no longer imagine celestial bodies pinned to spheres of quitessence, the idea of the celestial sphere is still useful for mapping the apparent paths of any astronomical body in the sky. From our perspective on the surface of our planet, the sun traces a arc path across the sky, like that in the photo above. On any day this path is of course due to the rotation of the Earth around its axis. Over the course of the year, because of the tilt of the axis, the position of the arc varies as the earth completes its rotation along its elliptical path around the sun. At the equator, the the path of the sun in the sky makes an untilted arc to the north or south of the celestial equator (the imaginary line cutting the imaginary sky sphere in half). As we move away from the equator, the relative path of the sun appears more and more tilted (directly proportional to latitude). This tilt means the paths of the sun at the extremes of the yearly orbit, the two solstices, are quite different lengths. Away from the equator, the apparent path of the sun is quite long (maximal, in fact) at the summer solstice and quite short at the winter solstice. The image below shows the extemes of the paths of the sun on the celestial sphere above a point at mid-latitudes. If you go to higher latitudes this tilt of the two extreme paths of the sun become more and more tilted until the winter path is entirely below the horizon.

There are other astronomical cycles which affect our Earth, but which are not easy for individuals to observe, because they are much longer than human lifespans. These are known as the Milankovitch cycles and include things like procession of the Earth's axis (which moves like the children's toy, a spinning top or gyroscope) over a cycle of roughly 26,000 years.

Different cultures have developped different calendars, often, if not exclusively, based on their astronomical observations. In ancient Mesoamerica, the Long Count calendar broke time into a variety of units, as we do (days, weeks, months, years, centuries, millenia, eons). They had K'in (one day), Winal (20 days), 1 Tun = 18 Winal (360 days, almost 1 year), 1 K'atun = 20 Tun (7200 days, almost 20 years), B'ak'tun = 20 K'atun (144,000 days or almost 394 years), Piktun = 20 B'ak'tun (2,880,000 days or roughly 7,885 years), Kalabtun = 20 Piktun (57,600,000 days or roughly 157,704 years), K'inchiltun = 20 Kalabtun (1,152,000,000 days or roughly 3,154,071 years), Alautun = 20 K'inchiltun (23,040,000,000 days or roughly 63,081,429 years). Today happens to be the end of a B'ak'tun, which while nifty, it is not the end of the Mayan calendar. In the Mayan notation this day would be which would have last occurred at the mythical creation day of this the fourth world, Monday, Aug 11, 3114 BCE (which is no more accurate, of course, than Bishop Usher's date, since of course, our planet is roughly 4.2 billion years old). The image at left shows the east side of stela C, Quirigua with mythical creation date in 13 (or 0) baktun, 0 katun, 0 tun, 0 uinal, 0 kin, 4 Ahau and 8 Cumku and corresponds to August 11, 3114 BCE in the Gregorian calendar (via wikipedia). Now previous worlds in the Mayan mythology only lasted 13 B'ak'tun, but there are inscriptions which refer to the end of the Piktun, which will not occur until 13 October 4772, so it's clear they assumed the world would be around a lot longer than this one solstice. So, if you would like to celebrate, celebrate the lengthening of days (at least here in the Northern Hemisphere), or go ahead and celebrate the end of the Mayan B'ak'tun as a notable date to a fascinating culture, or with tongue planted firmly in cheek, the bizarre variation on millennial pop culture myths of the end of days. Strange eschatological misconceptions seem like as good an excuse for a party as any. It'll be a while until we have the next prediction of an apocalypse.

(x-posted to minouette)

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Sound (Visual) Art

Source: via minouette on Pinterest

"Bowhead," a picture of a sound made by a Bowhead whale, 2003 by Mark Fischer (using wavelet analysis of recorded hydrophone sound data)

Artist Mark Fischer was interested in whalesong and found that in the literature you could find information on the range of frequencies employed, or fourier transforms of recorded sound (so you could see it plotted as a function of frequency, or moreorless which 'notes' were used, if whales happened to use discrete notes like most human music). He decided to use a method common in my field - marine geophysics. He employed wavelet analysis. (If you're interested, this is something seismologists typically use. They take time series data, which means they measure the amplitudes of vibrations, which is often equivalent to measuring the intensity of sound, periodically, so they get a series of measurements in time. They convolve the time series with a wavelet, a specific function. The result is a matrix of numbers which can be displayed as a 2D image if you simply map numbers onto colours.) It suffices to understand that there are a series of numbers (equivalent to the whalesong) to which he applies a mathematical procedure to produce an image. As he writes,
The procedure I have developed to pursue this exploration is, to me, a form of photography- with mathematics as the lens and a computer as a camera. What results is something I call 'the shape of the sound'.

More recently he's produced wavelet images of birdsong and insect noises and what he calls 'AguaSonic' videos of various species, so you can hear the animals too.

Source: via minouette on Pinterest

Pseudorca Pontinha by Mark Fischer, 2009 17.75" x 23.75" archival digital print on Crane's Museo Max paper

Sound as visual art can also be of sounds closer to the human experience (and not only those which require hydrophones to record). Epic Frequency makes prints of famous audio clips. This one is Martin Luther King, Jr. beginning, "I Have A Dream" On August 28, 1963.

Or, here is a way in which natural sounds combine with sculptural art. 'Hear Heres' is a set of four giant ear trumpet sculptures designed to highlight the sounds of nature, by London architecture firm Studio Weave.

Hear Heres

Hear Heres

Hear Heres

Friday, November 16, 2012

Music about Radioactivity: Radioactive Orchestra

adafruit industries blog

Using models from collaborating nuclear physicists, on how specific isotopes emit gamma radiation, media artist Kristofer Hagbard created an algorithm to translate this to music, and Axel Boman created songs based on melodies and sounds from the software Via the project webste:

The musical and artistic ambitions is about exploring a world that is not available to our senses and finding musically interesting pattens and to render them in a way that both resonates with popular culture while staying close to the subject matter.

The pedagogical aspect aims to inspire young people to learn about the natural sciences by making one of its most hidden phenomenas available in a new way and exposing complexity and beauty in the strange world of the atomic nuclei – using music.

I love the idea of making the ever-present though always changing ambient radiation audible and something we can sense. The physicists make the point that the general public tends to think ionizing radiation, these strong photons emitted, are unnatural, or something only associated with nuclear technology, when in fact, radiation is everywhere. Our Earth is filled with radioactivity and even our own bodies emit some radiation. By translating the frequencies of photos emitted by any given isotope to cascades of musical frequencies (or pitches) not only are they providing a means to think about this unsensed presence, but something lovely to listen to as well.

You can play with the software too, creating music from you favorite isotopes! It even allows you to export the music you create.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Chemistry Set Decor

Have you noticed that beakers, test tubes, and other vessels more traditionally ubiquitous in the chem lab seem to be finding their way into art and home decor?

Ensemble Chimisterie. Crédit Photo Nicolas Louis. Source: via minouette on Pinterest

Scientific borosilicate glassware created by students in the glassblowing section at the Lycée Dorian in Paris, was the jumping off point for Élise Fouin's exhibit "Chemisterie" (or "CheMystery"), currently showing at the Granville Gallery in Paris. She reworked the glassware, which otherwise was headed for the scrapheap, to add new forms and functions. She writes of converting glassware confined to the lab into an everyday object.

Sometimes the chemical vessels are disguised, or whimsical, like these porcelaine versions of graduated cylinders with extra farm animals.

You can purchase the porcelaine cow and pig vases at cokas diko home & garden.

Or consider this chemical tea set, the 'Kemikus service set' by Art.Lebedev Studio, complete with biohazard symbols, and a traditional Russian pattern:

Then, who can forget the test tube chandelier, 'Marie S.C.' (named for Marie Curie, or Marii Skłodowskiej Curie) by Polish designer Pani Jurek? The simple, yet very clever design, allows the owner to customize the test tubes in any way they can imagine.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Crafting Remembrance

As we approach Remembrance Day, I am thinking about art about war, and memorializing the lost.

'HMS Kimberley' by Vanessa Rolf, 'Poems to the Sea' series, 2012. 210cm x 104cm, cotton canvas and thread Source: via minouette on Pinterest

Vanessa Rolf, His lowly grave, 2012. 55cm x 40cm, canvas and thread

Textile artist Vanessa Rolf's series 'Poems to the Sea' 2009-2011 includes quilts and needlework documenting naval warfare in WWII. Her beautiful tapestries and quilts, on inherited canvas, and in their limited colour palette of blues and whites, are quite evocative. The HMS Kimberley above, was a Royal Navy K-class destroyer, which was one of only two of its class to survive the war. The pieces below shows the name of all German vessels which did not survive and a memorial to the sailors who died for France at Mers el Kabir in 1940.

Inherited patched canvas embroidered with the names of German battleships sunk during World War 2. 170cm x 105cm. Canvas and thread.

Vanessa Rolf. Mers el Kebir,2012. 45cm x 40cm, cotton and thread

I wrote previously (Juxtaposition and Craftivism) about the power of contrasting media (in artworks which have been traditionally deemed 'craft' and even sometimes 'women's work') with implements of war and violence. Remembrance Day is not only a day to give thanks to those who gave up their lives, and surviving vetrans who served their nation in times of war, but to recall the horrors of war and the senselessness of violence. We also mustn't forget the thousands of civilians lost to wars. This brings to mind two other artists, who have created works about and with weapons.

British artist Magnus Gjoen "often questions the correlation between religion, war, beauty & destruction in his art," and plays with making extremely destructive weapons beautiful and fragile.

Magnus Gjoen, Delft Machine Gun, Digital. Source: via minouette on Pinterest

Magnus Gjoen, Flowerbomb, Digital Vexel art

Magnus Gjoen, AK-47 Concert of Birds, Digital Vexel art

Mexico-city based artist Pedro Reyes has created a series of 50 musical instruments called 'Imagine' working with 6,700 guns seized by the Mexican government related to gun violence and the drug war in the country. He is constrasting their new, modified, potential to create beautiful music from their violent pasts. Almost 80,000 people have lost their lives to gun violence in Mexico over the last six years and the project serves as requiem. He writes, "It’s important to consider that many lives were taken with these weapons; as if a sort of exorcism was taking place the music expelled the demons they held, as well as being a requiem for lives lost."


Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Monster Drawings

Danish artist John Kenn spends his time writing and directing television, and raising kids, but manages to draw a portfolio full of elaborate and eerie monsters on Post-It notes. (via form is void)

Happy Hallowe'en!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Anatomy of Creatures Who Are Not

This idea seems irresistible to artists, as we have seen this before, but I thought I would bring you some skeletal structures of imaginary monsters in time for Hallowe'en.

Starting with the pop-culture monsters, and beginning old skool: French artist Gentil Garcon has teamed up with paleontologist Francois Escuilie to create a real-life representation of Pac-Man's skull.

Gentil Garcon's Pac-Man's Skull, Source: via minouette on Pinterest

Next, New York based illustrator Ryan Mauskopf (aka “RYE-BREAD“) has made an entire series on Pokémon Anatomy of the popular Japanese trading card, animation and video game monsters. (They are available on tee-shirts. You should check out his portfolio too).

Charmander Anatomy by Ryan Mauskopf, Source: via minouette on Pinterest

Squirtle Anatomy by Ryan Mauskopf, Source: via minouette on Pinterest

Bulbasaur Anatomy by Ryan Mauskopf, Source: via minouette on Pinterest

Moving on the the composite creatures, especially of the anthropomorphic variety, we have Hominid by Brian Andrews, an animated teaser based on his series of photo composites.

Fascinating, though too often over-looked surrealist artist Leonor Fini created a number of works including the skeletons of classical monsters, particularly composite creatures involving women, like the sphinx, and newly imagined creatures like the dragonfly-man below.

Leonor Fini, Source: via minouette on Pinterest

Lastly, while we are on the subject of surrealism, I'll leave you with a strange little treat. For anyone who would like more fine art and more of the surreal in their games, escape with Une Semaine de Bonté, a brand new on-line game designed as another way to experience the effect of reading? viewing? interrogating perhaps? Max Ernst's 1934 book of the same name, complemented by music from the Surrealist works of Pierre Schaeffer, and poetry by Arthur Rimbaud, André Breton and Robert Desnos.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Lise Meitner & Nuclear Fission, on Ada Lovelace Day

AdaLovelaceIICross-posted from the on-going saga of minouette

Today is the fourth annual international day of blogging to celebrate the achievements of women in technology, science and math, Ada Lovelace Day 2012 (ALD12). You may recall Ada, brilliant proto-software engineer, daughter of absentee father, the mad, bad, and dangerous to know, Lord Byron, she was able to describe and conceptualize software for Charles Babbage's computing engine, before the concepts of software, hardware, or even Babbage's own machine existed! She foresaw that computers would be useful for more than mere number-crunching. For this she is rightly recognized as visionary - at least by those of us who know who she was. She figured out how to compute Bernouilli numbers with a Babbage analytical engine. Tragically, she died at only 36. Today, in Ada's name, people around the world are blogging about women in science and technology, whose accomplishments have all too often gone unrecognized or unacknowledged.

I made a new edition of my 'Ada, Countess Lovelace' print for the occassion. The print is in blue, indigo and dark silver water-based block printing ink on cream coloured Japanese kozo paper 12.5 inches x 10.5 inches (31.8 cm x 26.7 cm). There are 4 prints in this second edition. The first edition was printed on plum coloured paper.

This year, I would like to tell you about Lise Meitner. I made her portrait along with her explanation of nuclear fission. She was the first person to provide a theoretical explanation for nuclear fission and was an integral member of the experimental team as well, though her gender and her heritage interfered with her being properly acknowledged in late 30s Germany. Meitner is shown in dark silver ink with a neutron flying from her brow towards a uranium nucleus, and the ensuing chain reaction is shown in red. The print is in an edition of 6 printed on white Japanese kozo (or mulberry) paper, 12.3 inches by 12.5 inches (31.2 cm by 31.8 cm).

Lise Meitner

Lise Meitner (7 November 1878 – 27 October 1968) was a world-class physicist who collaborated with chemists Otto Hahn and Fritz Straßmann1 in the 1930s in Berlin. The team was investigating whether there were any stable elements beyond uranium, on the periodic table. They discovered that by bombarding the nucleus of uranium-235 with neutrons that they actually triggered it to fission, or break, into two nuclei of roughly half the size and some free neutrons! Hahn's chemistry allowed the startling discovery and identification of barium, but no explanation of the mechanism involved; Meitner's physics provided the explaination of how fission could be possible and its implications. Otto Hahn was awarded the 1945 Nobel prize for chemistry. Though Meitner won many accolades, the Nobel committee neglected her contribution, in one of the most blattant and eggregious instances of their overlooking women's scientific acheivements.

Hahn and Meitner's research was disrupted by WWII. Meitner was of Jewish heritage. Her Austrian citizenship provided her some protection prior to its annexation, when she had to make a daring escape via the Netherlands to a new home in Sweden, in 1938. Despite their seperation, Meitner and Hahn continued to work together, planning the experiments which lead to the discovery of fission at a meeting in Copehagen. Hahn and Straßmann performed the experiments and Hahn realized that the presence of barium could only make sense if the nuclei had split, but he needed Meitner's help to understand how this could be. Meitner was able to apply the latest physics, the liquid-drop model of the nucleus (as shown in my print), to explain how the absorption of an extra neutron could produce an unstable nucleus which split into two large pieces, the daughter nuclei, and more free neutrons. Most importantly she saw that the combined mass of the neutron and uranium-235 was larger than the products and that the 'missing mass' would all be transformed into vast amounts energy according to Einstein's famous equation E = mc². She also saw how the newly produced high-energy neutrons would in turn strike other uranium nuclei, leading to a chain reaction. She worked with her nephew, physicist Otto Frisch to develop this theory. In Germany in 1939, Hahn could not publish jointly with Meitner. Hahn and Straßmann submitted the team's results (that bombarding uranium with neutrons produced barium) for publication in 1938. Meitner and Frisch interpreted these results correctly as nuclear fission in Nature in 1939.

The physics community recognized that the huge energies produced by these fission chain reactions could be used to produce a bomb, and further, that expertise existed in Nazi Germany. Physicists on the Allied side, lead by Leó Szilárd, Edward Teller, and Eugene Wigner immediately worked to persuade Albert Einstein2 (whose fame would receive attention) to bring this danger to the attention of F.D. Roosevelt, which ultimately lead to the Manhattan Project and the development of the atomic bomb. Meitner herself refused to be involved in weapons research or the Los Alamos project and declared, "I will have nothing to do with a bomb!"3 She never returned to Germany or her Austrian homeland, even after the war, making a life in Sweden and retiring to England. Her nephew Otto Frisch composed the inscription on her headstone. It reads "Lise Meitner: a physicist who never lost her humanity."

Apart from her role in discovering and explaining nucleur fission, Meitner had many great acheivements. She was the only second woman to be granted a doctoral degree in physics by the University of Vienna, where she studied with the great Ludwig Boltzmann.4 She moved to Berlin and worked for Max Planck5 (who had previously refused to admit women) before beginning her 30-year long collaboration with Otto Hahn. Together with Hahn in 1917, she discovered the first long-lived isotope of the element protactinium, for which she was awarded the Leibniz Medal by the Berlin Academy of Sciences. That year, Meitner was given her own physics section at the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Chemistry. (It's worth noting that she and Hahn were relegated to a basement lab because women had not been allowed in the building, and that she had to go to another building to find a woman's washroom). In 1926, Meitner became the first woman in Germany to assume a post of full professor in physics, at the University of Berlin. She was praised by Albert Einstein as the "German Marie Curie". She visited the US in 1946, where she was hailed as a heroine and received the honour of the "Woman of the Year" by the National Press Club, many honorary doctorates and lectured at Princeton, Harvard and other US universities. She received the Max Planck Medal of the German Physics Society in 1949. Meitner was nominated to receive the Nobel prize three times. In 1966 Hahn, Fritz Straßmann and Meitner together were awarded the Enrico Fermi Award. In 1997, the element 109 was named meitnerium in her honour. Today the Hahn-Meitner Institut in Berlin, craters on the Moon and on Venus, and a main-belt asteroid are all named in her honour.

(This post was made with information from Lise Meitner's wikipedia entry and Sime's biography. Lise Meitner: A Life in Physics by Ruth Sime is one of the best biographies I have ever read. I recommend it highly to anyone interested.)

1 Straßmann, incidentally, was hired by Hahn and Meitner at a time he could not be hired elsewhere in Germany. He had resigned from the Society of German Chemists when it became part of a Nazi-controlled public corporation and was blacklisted. Hahn and Meitner were able to make a position for him at half pay. He and his wife hid a Jewish friend in their apartment, during the war, at great personal risk to their family.

2 The irony is that Einstein had been a dedicated pacificist throughout his life. At the onset of WWI, Meitner had not been able to see his point of view. Her experience as a nurse handling X-ray equipment during WWI changed her attitudes about war. (Contrast this with Hahn's WWI work developing chemical warfare under Fritz Haber, and we return once again to the question of the scientist's ethical obligations. Haber, incidentally, died in exile in 1938, because of his own Jewish heritage). Einstein saw the Nazi threat as such that it warranted pursuing an Allied fission bomb to avoid being devastated by a Germany weapon. He, of course, later denounced using the bomb as a weapon and campaigned against further development of nuclear weapons.

3 Ruth Lewin Sime, Lise Meitner: A Life in Physics (University of California Press, 1996), 305

4 Sime's biography made me a huge fan of Ludwig Boltzmann. He was a talented and kind man. He fought for his wife's right to study mathematics in the 1870s. He was a great teacher and dedicated mentor to his students, including Meitner. Tragically, he suffered from bipolar disorder and took his own life.

5 Planck's own wartime experience is quite the story. He worked hard to shield his employees at the KWG from open conflict with the Nazi regime, though he thought Hahn's suggestion of a public proclamation by scientists, against the treatment of their Jewish colleagues, would be futile. He helped secretly employ Jewish scientists and the blacklisted Straßmann. He held a memorial meeting for Fritz Haber in 1935. He was accused of being "a white jew" by Johannes Stark (Nobel Laureate and Nazi) for continuing to teach Einstein's theories. His own son Erwin, was implicated in the attempt made on Hitler's life in the July 20 plot, and was killed by the Gestapo. Though this and other personal tragedies made the end of his life very difficult, he survived to see a the Nazis defeated and lived to 1947.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Butterflies are the new pirates

As a corollary to my insects in art posts, I note that an entire post could easily be devoted to butterflies and moths in art - even if I limit this to artists not mentioned in previous butterfly posts. I believe that butterflies are the new pirates. They've become as ubiquitous as other memes (pirates, zombies, vampires, even if far less bloody). I confess, I've been trying to start my own meme with the phrase, "butterflies are the new pirates" as a sort of experiment (and thus far, had no luck). It nonetheless amuses me, hence, the title. But, enough of that. On with the butterfly art!

Artist Louise Richardson often covers her fibre and sculptural art with moths and butterflies.

key of E flat
Key of E flat by Louise Richardson

spell bound
Spell bound by Louise Richardson

Nettle by Louise Richardson
( a billion taste and tunes)

Similarly, swarms of butterflies show up in the work of sculptor, painter, and animator, David Kracov.

Book of Life by David Kracov
Book of Life by David Kracov

Coca Cola Open Happiness by David Kracov
Coca Cola Open Happiness by David Kracov

Indianapolis-based artist Tasha Lewis has made magnetized cyanotype butterflies - a brilliant solution for non-destructive, grafitti-like installations. She writes,
Each installation was spontaneously arranged on iron and steel structures in urban spaces. I find it important to insist that this project does not promote tampering with public sculpture. My butterflies are attached with very very small magnets and thus do not harm the metal of the found art. My goal is to create a very ephemeral public spectacle that toeing the line between subversive and lyrical.

There is much more art to be found in her portfolio.

 Magnetized Cyanotype Butterfly Installations by Tasha Lewis

 Magnetized Cyanotype Butterfly Installations by Tasha Lewis

 Magnetized Cyanotype Butterfly Installations by Tasha Lewis

( this is colossal)

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Bespoke Insects

 The 'muscle bug (Coleoptera Tendonitis)' by Mark Oliver

For some reason, I've been seeing a quite a few insects in art of late. After the recent post on the photographic work of Laurent Seroussi, today I bring you more than 2D insects: sculptural and animated fanciful insects.

Working with trash (and found objects), British artist Mark Oliver has created the 'litterbugs', building their bodies and classifying his imaginary creatures with scientific and common names. The 'muscle bug (Coleoptera Tendonitis)' for instance involves anatomical illustrations of the muscles in human limbs. The 'frequency moth (Lepidoptera Doppler)' has clock arms for legs. The 'celebellar bug (Coleoptera Mesmerical)' contains anatomical drawings of human heads and brains. Some are more metaphorical in classification. The 'Prophet Moth (Lepidoptera Inspiration)' contains the spine of a bible. He describes his beautiful and whimical Litter Bugs thus as, "A creature whose instinctual and physical qualities have adapted so uniquely to the modern urban environment that it has rendered itself, by nature of camouflage, virtually invisible" in its habitat. They make a truly wonderous collection; be sure to peruse the whole collection.

The 'frequency moth (Lepidoptera Doppler)' by Mark Oliver

 The 'celebellar bug (Coleoptera Mesmerical)' by Mark Oliver

 The 'Prophet Moth (Lepidoptera Inspiration)' by Mark Oliver

(design boom)

Mark Oliver isn't the only artist inventing species of insects. The previously mentioned Finland-based artist Vladimir Stankovic invented Cephalopodoptera, which, as the name suggests, combines the cephalopods (octopi and squids) with insects. What makes them magical is that he has not only illustrated them but animated them, like the often colour-changing or bioluminescent cephalopods. Find more here.

Cephalopodoptera by Vladimir Stankovic
Cephalopodoptera by Vladimir Stankovic

Cephalopodoptera by Vladimir Stankovic
Cephalopodoptera by Vladimir Stankovic

I am really taken with the work of Canadian metalsmith and jeweller Elizabeth Goluch. Her gorgeous metal and gemstone insect sculptures include clever little allusions to nomenclature or folklore. There are a dragons and flies on her dragonfly. Insider her ladybugs are a house engulfed in flames ("Ladybug, ladybug, fly away home. Your house is on fire..."). Her Violin Beetle has a violin, bow and scored music included. Her carpenter arts contain the tools of the trade (hammer, nails and saw). Her work isn't limited to insects; I love the medusa jellyfish with medusa head. Have a look at her marvellous portfolio.

DRAGONFLY by Elizabeth Goluch

DRAGONFLY by Elizabeth Goluch
DRAGONFLY by Elizabeth Goluch
Sterling silver, 18k & l4k gold, fresh water pearls, garnets
9.5"l x 11.75"w x 2.75"h

LADYBUG #2 by Elizabeth Goluch
sterling silver, 18k + 14k gold, garnets, enamel, ceramit
5.5"l x 4.5 "w x 1.5 "h

VIOLIN BEETLE by Elizabeth Goluch

VIOLIN BEETLE by Elizabeth Goluch
VIOLIN BEETLE by Elizabeth GoluchVIOLIN BEETLE by Elizabeth Goluch
sterling silver, 18k & 14k gold
10.5"l x 8.5"w x 1.5"h

CARPENTER ANTS by Elizabeth Goluch
Sterling silver, 14K & 18K gold
8.5"l x 7.25"w x 2.25"h
10"l x 8.75"w x 3"h
9"l x 7"w x 2.75"h

This work reminds me of the Insect Lab Studio. "Borrowing from science fiction and fact, Insect Lab customizes insect specimens with antique watch parts and other mechanical components for a luxurious and whimsical effect." Insect Lab creates sort of steampunk robot-like insects; they don't function robotically, but they merely look like Victoria cyborg insects (or cybugs).

Cetonidae: Amaurodes Passerinii Linnei by Insect Lab
Cetonidae: Amaurodes Passerinii Linnei by Insect Lab
Steel watch parts, gears and screw
3"x4" dome

Cetonidae: Dicarphaneous Adamsi by Insect Lab
Cetonidae: Dicarphaneous Adamsi by Insect Lab
Steel watch parts, gears, spring and screw
4"x4" dome

Cerambycidae: Batocera Numitor by Insect Lab
Cerambycidae: Batocera Numitor by Insect Lab
Steel pocket watch parts, gears, springs and shafts.
5.5"x5.5" dome

I notice that what all these bespoke insect sculptures (and animations) have in common is that they are made of disparate parts. This seems entirely apt. The word insect itself means segment or cut, refering to their separate parts.


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