While visiting Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada I discovered a stunning public science-art installation. Diatom Whisper: Alchemy by North Vancouver-based artist Ingrid Koivukangas features 12 round sculptures of diatoms embedded in concreted of a public waterfront skate park. The diatoms are native to Lake Superior, which is located directly across from the park. This installation allows the public to explore a hidden neighbouring watershed ecosystem.
“Diatom Whisper: Alchemy integrates 12 microscopy images of Lake Superior diatoms into the skate park creating a visual connection between the viewer and the unseen microscopic world that inhabits the waters directly across from the Marina Skate Park Plaza. The work sparks a new awareness of the environment while connecting the neighbourhood, the people who use the new waterfront park, and the youth using the skate park, within the many layers of understanding our place in the world, in the cosmos – past, present and future. Each diatom is labeled with its name and a didactic panel on site provides educational information on diatoms and our interconnectedness with them. As a further way of engaging the community, two microscope kits are available at the library for patrons to sign out so that they can go to the lake and find their own diatoms.” – Ingrid Koivukangas
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