BIOTA

516 ARTS ALBUQUERQUE NEW MEXICO: SPECIES IN PERIL ALONG THE RIO GRANDE
SEPTEMBER – DECEMBER 2019

“There are more microbial species on Earth than stars in the galaxy. “

Quote credit/article: Jay T. Lennon and Kenneth J. Locey

There are more microbial species than stars in the galaxy. Thanks to DNA sequencing we are now able to “see” them and understand that even though they are invisible they too are in peril. BIOTA is an interactive installation that explores biodiversity loss along the rio grande through the micro-macro lens of new sensing technologies. From satellite remote sensing (RS) data to DNA sequencing to citizen science, the artist investigates data and imagery from these new methods of scientific exploration.  In collaboration with local environmental organizations and scientists  we identified and collected DNA strands of a water sample from the Fernando river at the Taos Land Trust, revealing the thousands of species that form the microbiome of the river. This bio-data was used to simulate an algorithmic ‘life-form’ growing in real time in response to changing environmental factors to visualize the delicate symbiotic relationship of this species in peril. ‘BIOTA’ instills empathy for the invisible world of microbial species while raising awareness to the fascinating new science and technology that allows us to finally ’see’ them and understand the important role they play.