I’ve been experimenting with creating a microscope that allows me to easily take video.
The nice thing about using a piCam is I know it’s easily programmable. Although for my purposes the same functionality might be available for a cheap usb webcam.
I’ve been researching tools others have used to do similar things, and found a group at Betzig Lab that has created a microscope that does high speed imaging using bessel beam planes. Someone else created foldscope, a cheap paper microscope. I also discovered this microscopic film festival.
Generative & algorithmic art
I was very inspired by Markos Kay’s quantum fluctuations and other related work and searched for which software he might have used to create it. He hasn’t mentioned this in any of his interviews, so I tweeted at him, but he didn’t respond.
It got me thinking about whether I should find a way to generate the phenomena I’m interested in capturing with algae in some other way–like with Processing or other software, like Unity. I took a look through Shiffman’s Nature of Code examples and found a link to this great book: The Algorithmic Beauty of Plants.
My microgreens have grown, started to dry and die, and are now coming forth with new life. It’s been very interesting to watch!
Our algae are also growing–the chlorella and spirulina are doing great, while the nori doesn’t seem to be. We’re not sure why.
Final project concept progress
I’ve been revisiting Donella Meadows to think about how to steer my project towards something impactful.
I still really like the idea of creating a sort of stereoscope where there’s a sense of being immersed in an environment at a different scale.
Another perhaps more outrageous idea is to grow the chlorella or spirulina (perhaps chlorella since it’s a bit easier) in a higher nutrient medium, resembling something more like the runoff from industrial farms. I think it would be interesting to present this in the form of a water fountain, to make the association back to what we consume to sustain us. I wondered if people had perhaps made algae fountains before, and of course they have.
What if the nutrient solution was urine?