UNM Biology 402/502 // UNM Art Studio 389/429/529 // UHON 402
Joseph Cook // Szu-Han Ho

Space for posting thoughts, ideas, references, resources, and works. The theme of our seminar and workshop series is "Morphology and Geographic Variation." With the natural history collection as our starting point, we'll hear from scientists, artists, designers, programmers, musicians, and more on place-based study. Part of AIM-UP, an NSF Research Coordination Network.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Sketches from Wkshp #3: Morphology and Evolution with Brian Conley

Julia Anderson

Lauren Doyle

Marne Elmore

Antonio Marquez

Xiangyun Chen

Robert Rix

CO-EV wkshp #3: Morphology and Evolution with Brian Conley

Evolution operates through morphological change. Morphological change affects the physical shape and construction of organisms, including animals and humans, but also their movements and interactions. Self-organization and emergence are aspects of complexity theory that refer to overlapping sets of chemical, biological, mathematical, spatial, and even social and technological phenomena. Complexity theory discusses the unique properties that arise in systems whose elements are in dynamic interaction. Self-organization can arise in inorganic and organic materials. It occurs in complex systems when the elements of those systems react to local conditions and build or arrange themselves in new ways. Emergence is said to occur in systems where the whole is greater than the parts.

This workshop explores evolution through the morphological behavior-changes found in animals who self-organize. At the same time, we will consider the ways in which scientific material can be used in the arts.

Convening at the Museum of Southwestern Biology, we will investigate its collections and discuss the potential uses of these materials for artistic research. In the course of our two days, each participant will make an initial effort towards the production of a work of art.

Day 1: We had the privilege to hear from Dr. Luis Bettencourt, theoretical physicist from the Santa Fe Institute, on "Complex Systems and Patterns":

...and from MSB collections manager Dr. Jon Dunnum in the mammal collection:

....and paleobiologist Dr. Felisa Smith (UNM) on using collections to study patterns in mammal teeth and body size:

 Day 2: Brian Conley leads roundtable discussion on creative work from the collections and on self-organizing systems:

Monday, April 30, 2012

Wind Map

A fellow art student posted this on Facebook, and I thought I would share.  It is a visual map of wind movement and speed in the U.S. in real time. It is mesmerizing.  Here's the url:


Thursday, April 26, 2012

CO-EV Workshop #3: Morphology and Evolution with Brian Conley

Brian Conley is at UNM this weekend, here to lead our third and final CO-EVOLUTION Workshop! We will be discussing themes of emergence and complexity in various systems--physical, biological, and chemical. On DAY 1, Luis Bettencourt (Santa Fe Institute) and Felisa Smith (UNM Bio) will join us in a discussion of finding patterns in complex living and non-living systems. We'll be delving into the collections to make our own observations about patterns. On DAY 2, we'll continue our museum investigation, and students will present their findings to the group. In the afternoon, we'll break into a Research Lab/Think Tank on the possibilities of artmaking based on these findings. We will be joined by a group of faculty and students from various disciplines, creating the possibility for generative dialogue. 

Monday, April 2, 2012

CO-EV workshop #2: Fluid Taxonomy with Suzanne Anker

What is taxonomy? How does the field of genetic engineering reorganize and recombine genomes? What are chimeras in art and science? This workshop will explore the following species of mushrooms: portobello, shitake, enoki, oyster, and white beech by DNA extraction and PCR amplification. The second part of the workshop will concentrate on "cut and paste" techniques in visual art through the practice of collage. Students are asked to choose content based on the following criteria: What are the political consequences of genetic engineering? To what taxa do entities belong when they are the result of several genomes? What ethical issues are raised by industrial farming?

DAY 1_Supermarket DNA lab : 
a trip to Talin International Market via ABQ Rapid Ride bus system to collect specimens

...and a fungal DNA extraction lab with mycologist Don Natvig, UNM Biology

Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) thermocycler: 

~60% success rate!

Day 2_"Cut and Paste"