The Search for Luminosity is a meditation on phototaxis in machine-sculptural form. Unlike much bioart, the work rather gently points towards a happy cyborgian union of biology and machine. The main components of the work are: six living Oxalis Regnelli (or ‘lucky shamrock’) plants, arranged in a circular symmetry on a horizontal disc; an array of six lamps above, and in the center, a rotating custom optical scanner. The special quality of this project is that its behavior is effectively controlled by the ‘will’ of the plants. The Oxalis plants have a special behavioral quality in that they open their leaves in advance of and in preparation for the morning sun. In this work, the scanner detects this movement and obligingly switches on the lamp for that plant. The plants have been prearranged such that they awaken in a clockwise sequence over 24 hours. The lighting of a lamp, based on the respective plants behavior, also switches off the lamp diametrically opposite, putting that plant to sleep. The work thus renders the floral clocks found in old gardens as a kind of anachronistic parody of itself.
About the author
After rigorously pursuing painting and drawing in high school, she applied to The School of the Art Institute of Chicago for her first degree program. She was accepted with an academic scholarship. At SAIC, she took painting courses for her first two years. In a pivotal semester, she took both a class called “digital tools for painting” and “conceptual painting”. At this time she very seriously asked herself why she was making art. She saw her art objects as ultimately too material and separated from reality, and wanted to make more of an impact on her society. She immediately latched on to technology, seeing it as evolutionary and culturally impacting.
She shifted her study to art & technology and finished her BFA in 2002. Currently, she is a PhD student and teaching and research assistant at the University of Washington’s Center for Digital Arts and Experimental Media (DXARTS). In her work she is interested in using digital media to preserve and discover environments that are in a continual state of flux. She also uses technology in her art to gain greater perspectives on the system in which she exists, with the vision of generating deeply impacting and fully present systemic realities. She hopes for her work to inspire, develop and question the technology it uses, with the pursuit of utilizing art to create meaningful and present experiences that allow us to understand our selves and our habitats in ways no others forms of human inquiry and development could. In her earlier work, she focused on the variation of interiors by producing real-time video/audio renderings using data sensed within the given space. Her most recent work uses data sensed from natural systems to create hybrid bio-mechanical systems.