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.

Litter in the Wetlands

Litter in the Wetlands
Found trash, metallic wire, wood.
2015

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.

Waterwheel e-book launch + World Water Day 2015

waterwheel_ebook
(Sip. Do Not Gulp. is page 391 – scroll down after opening the link)

Sip. Do Not Gulp, is part of the Waterwheel World Water Day Symposium 2014 e-book ‘Water Views: Caring and Daring’, which is launched for World Water Day 2015, March 22.

Science, art, ecology, community and youth respond to the theme: ‘Water Views: Caring and Daring.’ An astonishing number and variety of entries – 125 articles & 540 pages – makes this book a rich collection of ongoing work internationally, often with a local focus, on raising awareness and responding to water issues.
450 participants, from 34 countries across 5 continents, interacted with audience ‘live’ on the Internet & in 18 physical venues or ‘nodes’, through Waterwheel, an online platform dedicated to water. The Waterwheel World Water Day Symposium, held 17-23 March 2014, also integrated youth & inter-generational dialogue with the “Voice of the Future” strand.

Download E-book here.
Waterwheel website

Species Encounter: Dive In! at GLOW a festival of Light, Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History

GLOW festival – Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History, Friday, October 17, 2014
From 7:00 to 10pm
705 Front Street | Santa Cruz | CA 95060
The MAH website page


Species Encounter: Dive In! is an interactive multimedia installation, which comprises a large shadow theater, a series of animal shapes and a video projection. The public is invited to move the shapes as the video is projected from behind the screen.

“Billions of pounds of plastic can be found in our oceans. Around the world, plastic pollution has become a growing plague, clogging our waterways, and damaging marine ecosystems. 44 percent of all seabird species, 22 percent of cetaceans, all sea turtle species and a growing list of fish species have been documented with plastic in or around their bodies. Most of what we eat, drink, or use in any way comes packaged in petroleum plastic- a material designed to last forever, yet used for products that we then throw away.
Seek out alternatives to the plastic items that you rely on.”

The installation is an allegory for the plastic we consume ending up invading the seas and oceans, being absorbed and eaten by many different marine species and threatening them. In the installation, the animals shapes of fish (like lanternfish and opah), sea turtles (like leatherback sea turtle and hawksbill turtle) and marine mammals (like harbor seals, sperm whales, dolphins), are made of recyclable cardboard. The center of each shape is filled with recycled plastic packaging.

The installation was originally created by Michele Guieu and became a collaborative work with Drew Detweiler bringing the interactive video component to the project. The projection is generated from drawings and video footage combined together to create an ever changing underwater-scape.

Species Encounter: Dive in! at subZERO

SubZERO festival
San Jose, CA – South First Street – June 6 and 7 – from 6 pm to midnight
Interactive installation in collaboration with videographer Drew Detweiler.

I am interested in having people interact with the pieces I create and add their own elements in my installations. The energy between people is a key part of this installation. When people interact they create a unique scenario and bring the piece to life. Participative art is a much needed community anchor in the uncertain times we live in, as global environmental problems will eventually force us to unite and find solutions collectively. Water is my subject of choice, “Species Encounter: Dive in!” is about seas and oceans life and I hope the poetry of  the installation help people think more about those vital eco-systems.

Visitors are invited to play on a screen with shapes created for the project. Visitors can enjoy the installation from inside (making the shapes move) and/or from outside (watching).

This year for subZERO festival I teamed up with Drew Detweiler, interactive videographer, to take you into a moving ocean of light. Drew created a video projection generated from a series of drawings about water,”Water Dreams”, that I have made in the past months and which is on display at Kaleid Gallery in San Jose. The video is projected on the giant shadow theatre.

What will you encounter? You are invited to create your own species/object/hybrid or to use one designed for the project. Watch, interact, participate and play!

This installation is temporary and the material used is reusable. The shapes are made of cardboard and recycled plastic bottles. They can be re-used for another performance or new ones can be made and then recycled.

Species Encounter was first shown at subZERO festival in June 2013, then the installation  was part of the GLOW festival at the Museum of Art and History in Santa Cruz last Fall, was shown during the Innovation Summit at the Convention Center and at the Tech museum for a private event in San Jose in 2014.

Species Encounter: a short video

This video presents Species Encounter, the interactive installation I created for SubZERO festival in San Jose in 2013. Species Encounter has subsequently been presented at the Museum of Art and History in Santa Cruz during the GLOW festival, the Innovation Summit at the Convention Center in San Jose and the Tech Museum in San Jose for a private event.

In this video Francis captures beautifully the spirit of the installation and the enthusiastic participation of the public. Thanks to Cherri Lakey and Brian Eder for giving me the opportunity to show this large interactive installation for the first time at SubZERO in June 2013. In a few weeks, June 6 and 7, I am excited to participate in SubZERO festival again, and I am thrilled to collaborate with Drew Detweiler, who will work his video-magic in Species Encounter.

Francis Estrand-Cartier
(510) 883 4972
(510) 883 4972

Article about SubZERo festival 2104 in Metroactive here.
Page in Women Environmental Artists Directory here.

Panel Discussion: Sip. Do Not Gulp. / Lush Lawns and Delicious Dinner: How California’s Habits are about to change.

Wednesday, February 26, 7 p.m, de Saisset Museum, Santa Clara, CA.

At a moment when California’s water situation is of heightened concern, and the interconnectedness of food and water is at the center of the discussion, four experts come together to share their thoughts on the State’s condition. Jackie Davison, Outreach Coordinator in the Environmental Services Department at the Water Pollution Control Plant in Sunnyvale; Masie Ganzler, Vice President of Strategic Initiatives at Bon Appetit Management Company; Ed Maurer, Associate Professor, Civil Engineering at Santa Clara University; and Joe Morris, Morris Grassfed Beef discuss the impact California’s water shortage has on a personal and local level, and offer their perspectives on what the State’s future might hold. Programmed in conjunction with Sip. Do Not Gulp., on view through March 16, this program speaks to artist Michele Guieu’s commitment to engaging the community through her work.

The de Saisset Museum
500 El Camino Real,
Santa Clara, CA 95050