Now You See It! A History of Art about Slime Molds
I’m designing an exhibit for the Library at Seattle’s Center for Urban Horticulture, about the history of art about slime molds: micro-organisms given much recent attention by scientific and artistic communities worldwide. (To clarify, slime molds are not actually mold, but are colorful, bacteria-eating, spore-bearing, diverse, globally-abundant organisms.) For the past 2 years, I've been working with leading researcher Dr. Steven Stephenson to complete an illustrated field guide to slime molds. This exhibit celebrates the culmination of that project. It also tells the stories of international artists and scientists who, over the last 4 centuries, have shed light on these beautiful --but often hidden-- living things. As with most soil organisms, slime molds are often overlooked as subjects deserving of research funding. Artists help people understand and appreciate them through illustration, prints, film, and manipulation of slime molds themselves. Now You See It! tells their stories through compelling visuals and simply-written text. Indeed, striking imagery is integral to this exhibit. Upon entering, visitors are attracted to a “diorama” showcasing myriad real and sculpted specimens, as well as introductory text and graphics explaining what slime molds are. A handheld book corresponds with an expansive wall-graphic interpreting the extraordinary slime mold life cycle and its importance to healthy soil systems. After observing and drawing real specimens while looking through microscopes, and engaging with the work and stories of dedicated artists, visitors will leave more aware of the incredible microcosms underfoot. Now You See It! is made using best practices in sustainable design, and is targeted toward families with kids aged 6 and older and University of Washington faculty and students.
Funded by Seattle, WA (May 2015)