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Observation Maze

IN PROCESS: Co-incident with this show, summer 2022, I have been granted a delightful science-art residency, sponsored by Leonardo/ASU Institute for Art Sciences and Technology (ISAST) and held at Djerassi in Woodside, CA!

With support from the RPI HASS production grant, summer 2022 I made a new piece I have titled Observation Maze referencing Mel Henderson's installation at Djerassi entitled Observation Shelter.

Key New Element: Clay!

Yellow and black clay collected from Woodside CA
Yellow and black clay collected from Woodside CA

Since clay is so finely packed, it occludes most microbial activity. So the idea is to identify and clean clay from the region, make tiles, and restrict microbial movement; make a maze! I already know my design will not work, but as I've learned, every new project is a step toward the next version. That is, the clay tiles won't fit up close to the plexiglass and the silt from the mud, will create perfectly viable habitat for microbes (I learned this in Five Experiments, when I placed fish tank pH sensors on the face, and the silt occluded the sensors rendering them useless!).

Day 1!

Observation Maze - Day 1
Observation Maze - Day 1

Map of Inputs (what goes in, must come out!)

To see my blog posts over the course of this residency, please see

Context: NW wall of Artist Barn at Djerassi (normally I fight the reflections - but ooooh la la!)


Thanks to

  • Dave Perry (Precision Plastics for fabrication of the plexiglass frame)
  • RPI Production/Travel Grant for financial support (including Igor Vamos, Kathy High, Katie Soule, and Jenn Mumby)
  • John Szczesniak (machine shop maestro for help w the lighting system, not seen here)
  • & the Djerassi staff that made the residency (and install) possible (Valerie, Cat, Tim, Jewel, Alex, & Sue!)

Special Thanks to Cat who has agreed to document changes over time!