All free-living life forms are made of cells. The majority of life forms on the planet are microscopic and unicellular – meaning that the entire organism consists of only one cell, and is too small to be seen with the naked eye. We, in juxtaposition, are made up of many, many cells, as are the plants and animals that we can see around us every day. Unicellular organisms inhabit the soil, air and water all around us, some even reside within our own bodies. These organisms are intrinsically fascinating and often visually stunning; they are architects, builders, travellers, parasites, hunters, scavengers and prey; they have sex lives and mating rituals; they build communities and they go it alone. They are as complex in terms of behavior and lifestyle as any plant or animal, yet they do all of this within the confines of only one cell. Pondlife is an effort to document these organisms as the complex living creatures that they are, and make them accessible to as many people as possible. Pondlife is also intended to be educational. It attempts to communicate some basic concepts of biology, survival and the evolution of life in fun and visually stimulating ways using examples from the microscopic world. The documentation of these organisms is an invaluable resource to the education of adults and children alike.
The Molecular Logic of Cellular Signaling Systems
The Winogradsky column is a simple device for culturing a large diversity of microorganisms. Invented in the 1880s by Sergei Winogradsky, the device is a column of pond mud and water mixed with a carbon source such as newspaper (containing cellulose), blackened marshmallows or egg-shells (containing calcium carbonate), and a sulfur source such as gypsum (calcium sulfate) or egg yolk. Incubating the column in sunlight for months results in an aerobic/anaerobic gradient as well as a sulfide gradient. These two gradients promote the growth of different microorganisms such as Clostridium, Desulfovibrio, Chlorobium, Chromatium, Rhodomicrobium, and Beggiatoa, as well as many other species of bacteria, cyanobacteria, and algae.
The Biodiversity Heritage Library improves research methodology by collaboratively making biodiversity literature openly available to the world as part of a global biodiversity community.
My work plays with the architecture of nature and organic growth. By identifying patterns and motifs that occur in the natural world in different contexts and at different scales, both macroscopic and microscopic, I have developed a formal, aesthetic vocabulary that I use to construct hybrid sculptural forms, half real, half surreal.
BioDesign: Nature + Science + Creativity by William Myers is a book published in 2012 by The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in North America and Thames & Hudson worldwide. It profiles recent design and art projects that use living materials and span a wide range of applications from architecture to advertising to portraiture.