FLOW.13: Jenifer Wightman
The Project: View
To create View, Wightman will construct a steel bench that frames both the human industry of the Manhattan skyline and the microbial industry of Randall’s Island Park’s Little Hell Gate Inlet salt marsh. The site will contain unique microbial populations that will make a site-specific painting. Bacteria are model systems studied by microbiologists and offer much insight into our own cellular operation. Additionally, because bacteria can divide every twenty minutes, they also provide an observable model system for us to contemplate how patterns of reproduction, consumption, and waste have feedback on the very ecosystem upon which the culture depends. In this pairing of the micro and the macro world, a viewer may rest and contemplate how microbial cultures synthesize and recycle life within a finite ecosystem.
The Artist: Jenifer Wightman
Jenifer Wightman’s work employs scientific tropes to incite curiosity about ecological phenomena. She is interested in poetically articulating the incongruities between our current economic growth paradigm (conceptually unlimited) and our emerging notion of sustainability (limited by finite resources). Using colorful micro ecosystems as models for witnessing patterns of growth and decay, she is curious how we might conceive of an ecological rationality by reflecting on the co-evolution of cultures and their supporting ecosystem. She studied at Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA (BS 1994) and Cornell University, Ithaca, NY (MS 2002).