I heard a TED Talk by Princeton biologist Bonnie Bassler over the weekend about bacteria. Oddly enough this made me think of us, ArtHouse 23. There is a type of bacteria called Vibrio Fishceri that make light—they are bioluminescent. When studying these bacteria, what surprised the scientists was not that they made this light but when. When the bacteria are alone they made no light, but when they grew enough in numbers all the bacteria turned on light simultaneously.
The question the scientists had was how can the bacteria tell they’re not alone? The answer —they communicate–they talk to each other. When all the bacteria are participating in making molecules that tell the other bacteria that they are in the neighborhood, all the bacteria turn on light in synchrony— much like we saw this last weekend during our open studio. The place was lit up. You were “bioluminescent”. It seems a perfect metaphor. Creating “molecules” (or artwork) that communicate that we are “here” and together, and then sharing that with others is best described as illuminating.
The arc of the process from blank page, to oddball exercise, to frustration and feedback, reevaluation and resolution, to framing and exhibiting informs and enlightens. There is no other way to learn what that teaches.
We’ll be talking about this in class before we connect with brush and paint again. Make some mental notes to share as we debrief in the next couple of weeks.
Thanks to all for working together to make everything run so smoothly and thank you again for the clean-up. The place looks and feels great–ready for us to “turn it on” again.