Fragile Mass

Installation and DVD (2008)

Fragile Mass is a creative collaboration between artist Karen Ingham and marine biologist Dr. Emily Roberts at Swansea University, which explores the interactions of planktonic organisms, microscopic but essential aquatic life forms, with their environment. It is evident that, despite their minute individual size, the implications of deleterious human manipulation of them and their environment can be catastrophic and unpredictable. In terms of their environmental relevance, plankton form the very base of marine food webs and practically every organism in the sea is dependent on them to some extent or another. Another aspect, driving funding into plankton research in the light of global climate change, is their involvement in the ‘biological pump’. The ocean plays a crucial role in absorbing CO2 from the atmosphere due, in part, to the activities of the plankton. Ingham and Roberts explored a number of artistic responses, using a combination of lens-based and electronic art forms combined with confocal microscopy, with the aim of stimulating public awareness and engagement around these important environmental issues.

Acknowledgements: Natural Products Cymru Dilara Sharif, Ed Dudley and Chris Smith, Biological Sciences, Swansea University Sally James, Institute of Life Sciences (ILS), Swansea University Craig Pooley & Robin Shields Centre for Sustainable Aquaculture Research (CSAR), Swansea University, CIRIC, SATnet, SMU

*Funded by The Welsh Assembly Knowledge Exploitation Fund as part of the Science, Arts, Technology Network at Swansea Metropolitan University.