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Sensing Change

Born March 2022!

Check out what is happening to this new mud - Go directly to the first floor of Mann Library - the science library on Cornell's campus (runs March - October 2022).

Referencing two 19th century Japanese landscape scrolls by Reizei Tamechika (1823-1864) in the Johnson Museum

  • Cherry Blossoms at Yoshino
  • Red Maples at Tatsuta River

I had two plexiglass containers constructed (Precision Plastic, MD) with the internal dimensions of 37 3/4" x 16 3/8". This diptych now displays mud collected from Beebe Lake (March 2022). The right panel holds just mud from Beebe lake; the left panel is the same mud amended with ~5% rice hull biochar (donated from Johannes Lehmann's lab). Seven different sensors are embedded in each frame including on thermister and 3 pH and 3 eH sensors located at 3 different depths of the mud.

Goals for these two new mud paintings

  • See how biochar affects the pigmentation!
  • See how pH and eH change overtime at different depths of the same starting material!
  • Remove the front face in October and do some DNA sequencing!
  • Who are the True Authors of these Microbial Landscape Paintings?


Peggy Tully, Eveline Ferretti, Simeon Warner, Kata Boroczky, Ian Bishop, Craig Cramer, Annette Dathe, Johannes Lehmann, Sandra Smith Conrad, Yue Hao, Paul Jensen, Tobi Hines, Lynette Rayle, Jenny Leigonhufvud, Tom Trutt, Laura Heisey, John Szczesniak, Dave Perry, Kathy High, Jaehoon Choi, Nancy Wightman and more.

I am deeply indebted to my brother Coburn Wightman for all python coding for the sensors. Supported by the Cornell Council for the Arts, RPI, and Mann Library. Thanks also to Tim Murray, Erin Emerson, and Tina DuBois; Ellen Avril and the Johnson Museum, and everyone at Mann Library.

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