Drawing to Discern Parasites, 2019 (excerpt)

Drawing to Discern Parasites

2018, video documentation of acrylic drawing in water

Made in collaboration with parasitologist Colin MacLeod as part of Art and Oceans 2018. 

Further writing and research around this work can be viewed in the Oceans issue of Junctures: Journal of Thematic Dialogue

Limited observation of host-parasite relationships much be mediated by several channels. Light microscopes, video, artificial CO2 chambers, and fluorescent pigment (absorbed by host snails) are all used to visualise changes enacted by ocean acidification. Drawing to Discern Parasites responds to these limitations, employing similar methods of visualisation to question our understandings of parasitic worlds, and more-than-human scales of the climate crisis. 

Two video loops document attempts at representing various stages of the parasitic life cycle. Durational drawings, made with fluorescent pigment in water over several hours, have been recorded from two angles. The first recording takes place above, where flattened forms are mapped on the water's surface. The second viewpoint documents the tank's side, where effects of surface mark making over time are seen to accumulate. 

For photo-tactic parasites, light sources act as cues for action. In Drawing to Discern Parasites, the spreading glow and increasingly turbulent waters  poses dynamics that must be acknowledged and accommodated, as the results of the drawing process become more difficult to discern. 

In its finite moment, the concerns lie with responsive action in shifting, multidimensional environments. In video documentation, changes are made simultaneously available, offering consideration of changes occurring outside of our observable realm.