From the Community: Ecology influencing art

Architects, ecologists and urban planners design projects to tackle upcoming waterfront property issues in New York City due to rising sea levels from climate change, zebra finches play electric guitar as they go about their routines in a London exhibit and bacteria colonies produce intricate Petri dish art. Here is what’s happening in ecology for the last week in March:

Sonar music: Artist Renaud Hallée finds inspiration in sonar to create this video and accompanying music. The video recently captured the public’s attention through blogs like bioephemera, you can see it at “Sonar: datavisualizing music.”

Rising currents: Designers from all walks of life have come together to re-envision New York City’s coastlines in preparation for rising sea levels due to climate change. The waterfront projects are designed “to imagine new ways to occupy the harbor itself with adaptive ‘soft’ infrastructures that are sympathetic to the needs of a sound ecology.” Read more and watch a video at “MoMA: the rising current.”


Perching, pecking and picking: Artist Céleste Boursier-Mougenot modernizes the sounds from a garden by adding another element: the electric guitar. In her London exhibit, birds strum and pick guitars as they go about their daily activities. Read more at “Birds Playing Electric Guitars.”

Petri dish designs: Many Petri dish experiments turn into blobs of bacteria, but when given the right conditions, bacteria form a whole new result. That is, as bacteria balance density and nutrition, they create intricate vortex patterns. See the photos at “Colonial Intelligence.”


Nature by numbers: Filmmaker Cristobal Vila uses elements of nature to explain complex mathematical principles, including the Fibonacci Sequence (first example), the Golden Ratio (second) and the Angle Ratio (third) among others. Read more at “Mathematical Nature?

Also, photographer documents biodiversity found in one cubic foot of space across various ecosystems, 24 hour live footage of a brooding spotted owl (the owlet hatched this morning!), and the Ecological Society of America’s  2010 Eco-Art Festival & Eco-Film and Eco-Photo Competitions are now accepting submissions—see last year’s winners.

Author: Katie Kline

Moderator of EcoTone and ESA's communications officer.

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1 Comment

  1. Excellent and timely blog post. I’ve long believed in the relationship between ecology and art, not only as a means of inspiration for generating questions and expressions, but also as a way to find one’s appeal, or welcome, in a particular field that has perhaps never before been considered. I like all these examples, especially the collective activity of bacteria in harsh conditions! Tell us what you know bacteria! How cool that their story is so visually beautiful. I’d like also to submit this artistic expression of an ecological concept from SEEDS students at our recent leadership meeting http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rPnV5IGsGtE.

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