PLANKTON: Our Invisible Foundation, a participatory installation

Plankton: Our Invisible foundation is a participative black light installation. The public is invited to add elements to a reflective mural representing an ensemble of enlarged plankton organisms.  The black light makes the reflective elements seem to float in the space.

Plankton is a key element in marine ecosystems and is an important provider of precious oxygen for the planet. These little organisms, on top of being vital, are also amazingly beautiful.

The invisible world of plankton — its organisms are, for the most part, microscopic — represents food for a very large number of marine species. And phytoplankton, in particular, contributes up to 50% of the world’s oxygen to the atmosphere. As humans, we are largely unaware of the world of plankton and the critical foundation it serves for our present and future. It never surfaces in our thoughts and conversations.  Yet plankton needs our attention: climate change is disrupting these foundational organisms, endangering the marine food web and beyond.

“Plankton: our invisible foundation” brings to visibility and into our conversation these tiny, but critical creatures to help visitors realize more about how much we need them.

MAH Glow Digital Night
October 16, 2015, Santa Cruz, California.

Wishing Tree summer camp at Montalvo Arts Center

June 15-19, 2015. A week at the Barn Studio, with a group of 6-9 year old campers in the morning and a group of 9+ in the afternoon. A camp inspired by the nature surrounding us at Montalvo. The idea is to make things that are suspended in the trees, we can make wishes and tell our wishes, or not. Mobiles and banners are playful and colorful. There is a tinkering table with all sorts of material that the campers are welcome to use any time. Every day a technique is added and then the camper can choose what he/she wants to do/create.”
The recycled material we used in this camp comes from RAFT San Jose.

The Water Project featured at ArtSplash 2015 at Montalvo Arts Center

The Water Project was featured during ArtSplash, at Montalvo Arts Center. The Plastic Monster is made of nearly 500 plastic jugs and plastic water bottles that the kids, some friends of mine and I gathered at home. They contained milk or juice. The students were surprised by the amount they gathered. Knowing that in the end only a small percentage of plastic we consume is recycled and that tons of it goes to the ocean.

Litter in the Wetlands

Litter in the Wetlands
Found trash, metallic wire, wood.

Statement for the piece
This piece is made of all the trash collected in the wetlands in Sunnyvale a few weeks ago. My collect was possible with the help of Jackie Davison, who works at the Environmental Services Department in Sunnyvale. I met with Jackie at school; she was giving a much needed presentation about the watershed in my children’s class. Our paths crossed many times since then.

The bay is stunningly beautiful but if one looks closer, some places are littered with lots of trash, most of it being plastic, which is a real problem because it does not biodegrade. Plastic is not recognized by the organisms that normally break organic matter down.

I moved to the bay area 5 years ago and since then I developed different works about water (videos, collages, drawings). I created participative installations about the ocean, and I mostly use materials that can be reused or recycled. Living in Sunnyvale, close to the bay, I am very interested in knowing this fragile eco-system. I took my family – and my students – on a tour of the water pollution plant to learn about how the water we use in homes, stores and businesses, is treated before going to the bay. I volunteer for annual coastal clean-ups of the bay.

I work with Montalvo Arts Center on arts integration programs for which I develop projects about water. This Spring I am teaching in Campbell “the Water Project” to classes of 2nd graders. The project proposes different art exercises about the watershed, the drought, the water cycle, our water consumption, the pollution of the oceans by the plastic.