Sunday, December 13, 2015

Soulution: ART 451 Student Exhibition

            Life Pixel is an animation interactive project I made for ART 451 (Problems in Digital Media). It was shown in the student exhibition Solutions on December 7th, 2015. The primary goal of this project was to make people to be interested in and appreciate biology. Since biology was a broad subject, I only focused on the food chain of Didinium nasutum. Didinium is a microorganism that is famous with its feeding behavior on paramecium. A didinium uses its "nose", or sensor organ, to detect any surrounding paramecium. Once finding one, the didinium captured the prey by injecting toxic materials to paralyze it. Then eventually, engulfs the prey. It is considered as an apex predator of its group. However, didinium is often one of the preys of the planktonic species copepod, which is about one thousand times larger in size.
            To interact with this project, the screen was divided into three parts. On the central area, a didinium was shown. When moving the cursor to the left side, it switched to a paramecium, which would be eaten by didinium if the space key was pressed. Then when moving to the right side of the screen, I placed an animation that showed the approximate size of didinium compared to a copepod, or in specifically, a Copepoda Calanoida. Same setting as the left side, pressing the space key would show how didinium became a prey of copepod.
            Life Pixel was set up at the second floor of DMV building in University of Nevada, Reno. Unfortunately, because the exhibition was hold at the final week of school, there were very few people around the building. Two of my classmates had come and interact with my project, and the reaction was quite well. For anything to be improved, I think I should have a clear sign to briefly introduce my project. And because I wanted people to interact with my project by themselves, I was intentionally keeping a little distance away from my project. But since there were not much people around, I should encourage anyone who passed by to play with it. Overall, I really enjoyed the process of making this project. Although it was struggling to learn coding from zero, the experience of making animation and knowing how to work with Processing were definitely valuable to me.

The complete file of Life Pixel is on Dropbox. To open and interact with the project, please click the file named

The demo video of Life Pixel.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Processing Programing and The Final

The process has reached to the end for this project. I had rearranged the ways to present my animations. I divided the screen into three parts (left-middle-right). The middle part is a single Didinium with animated swimming motions. If moving cursor to the left, the Didinium is changed to a paramecium. Then if the space key is pressed, an different animation comes out and shows that paramecium being preyed by a Didinium. In contrast, the right side is an animation shows how didinium are eaten by its predator Copepoda Calanoida. The two sides demonstrate a simple food chain of Didinium being a prey and a predator.
The center part

The animation of both sides

The animations of both sides if the space key is pressed

The complete coding for this animation project

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Exhibition Review: Endangered by Emily Arthur

            From the perspective of a Cherokee and European American artist, Emily Arthur explored the impact on natural environment due to humane activity in the exhibition Endangered. A series of printmaking pieces told the stories of how environmental changing affected the native species such as songbirds, deer, and butterflies in the United States.
Collaborating with Moore Laboratory of Zoology in Occidental College, Los Angeles, the works in Endangered were mostly based on scientific results. Arthur used different diagrams of the data like species distribution as the background of her works. She focused on the movement across geographic landscapes and we could see some works contained the animal migration patterns with sky map. Besides the printmaking pieces, the exhibition also had a small section introducing a threatened species Coastal California Gnatcatcher and displaying its specimens. This bird species has become endangered because of the habitat destruction for urban development and is currently under conservation.
 liked the way Arthur drew songbirds and butterflies in the pose as the specimens, which emphasized the idea of being endangered. As a biology major who is interested in bringing science into art, her works had shown me more possible way to combine these two subjects. Science discovered the fact in nature, and art expressed our thought of nature. Without science, we could be ignorant of the world we lived, but without art it would be challenging to express our appreciations to nature. Art and biology are not simply the distinct disciplines but are the two strong approaches for us to understand the Earth.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Presenting Location

I decide to present my project at DMS building in University of Nevada, Reno. On a hallway at the second floor of this building, there are a series of scientific illustrations on both sides of the walls. I think these drawing pieces will be perfectly bound with my projects because of the similar context.