In the middle of the Dinacon month I went with some of the Dinosaurs and ventured onto the beautiful Batticaloa lagoon to listen to and record the famous singing fish.
It was a full moon and a super moon, so the conditions were ideal. The ‘singing’ comes from plainfin midshipman, a species of toadfish that glow green during mating times. The fish produce an aquatic frog-like mating call. They are best heard at about 10 PM on a full moon.
Here are some of the recordings, I’ve made these recordings into a kind of greatest hits compilation of the audio that I captured over two nights of the full moon. The recording is highly recommended as an insomniac’s sleeping aid.
To record I used a Zoom recorder and a custom made hydrophone that was submerged to about 6 meters into various parts of the lagoon at night.
I also ventured out to the end of the Batticaloa peninsular before dawn to collect audio and video footage. The casuarina pine forest at the end of the peninsular was well worth the 1-hour bike ride through sand tracks. The forest was planted post-tsunami. The trees are organised in unnatural rows, creating uncanny organic order.
During Dinacon I drew on a variety of audio-visual footage, that I collected over my Dinacon time, to make a series of trash-bag video art experiments. These video works are a commentary on the impact of hyper-consumerism on our natural ecosystems. The image below is a screen grab from one of the video works. It features drone footage from the end of the Batticaloa peninsular, whale baleen (we found on the Batticaloa beach), graphic design, trash typeface design and singing fish audio.
Tali was kind enough to provide video feedback on my Dinacon project.
The DREAMBOAT floating makerspace for Dreamspace academy is currently floating in the lagoon! It’s an art+science field station in the middle of one of the most interesting ecosystems on earth, the baticoloa lagoon! It’s the home of the mysterious singing fish, and even lights up green when it hears the singing fish song (they weren’t singing tonight so we played a recording, but the visuals totally worked!)
We have been working at a super fast paced rate on a tight budget during numerous crises and managed to pull it off!
It will be there to work as an observation post to monitor the interesting creatures like the mysterious singing fish, as well as the destination for tourism! And a floating art project!
Cris Silva (he/his) is a Sri Lankan biologist focused on sustainability and building platforms for innovators to innovate in Sri Lanka. Currently he is focusing on making biomaterials with mycelium. He worked in several academic projects on Sc-rna analysis, plant molecular diagnostics and drug discovery with machine learning. He is the guardian of the Bio Lab at DreamSpace Academy and Founder of Benzyme Ventures. He likes traveling and mountains.
Microcontrollers for All – learn how to use Arduino, micro:bit, ESP32, ESP8266, and the Raspberry Pi Pico to build, automate, and control things in your world. We will offer a series of workshops that explore each of these different platforms and learn how to prototype using cardboard and other found materials. We can tailor content towards the interests of the attendees.
Hello! I am a high school physics & engineering teacher from Chicago. I worked as the education engineer for SparkFun Electronics, and I’m the co-founder of HackSchool, a non-profit focused on empowering youth to tinker, hack, and take control of their own communities by leveraging the power of digital fabrication and open-source electronics.
Exploring alternative photography in its simplest form. Using can-pinholes for direct negatives on paper, is it possible to obtain positives simply? Maybe cyanotypes? Can you take a direct cyanotype in a camera obscura? Exploring solargraphy to understand how the sun travels in the sky (another use of the simple pinhole can camera). Some of the bottlenecks for analog photography are the darkroom and the chemicals. Can we get around that? What can photography be coupled with to document things our phone usually doesn’t?
A French artist living in Singapore, Isabelle Desjeux has a PhD in Molecular Biology and a MA in Fine Arts. Isabelle is interested in understanding how science is made and knowledge is acquired, by scientists, students or children and by extension the public at large.
Isabelle has also been working with children since 2000, teaching drawing through observation, and scientific methods and runs a studio called “l’Observatoire” where she invites artists for month-long residencies.
While at Dinacon, I’ll be building and testing my new camera-trapping board game, Wild Lives. This game is all about using camera traps to explore the natural world around you and sharing stories about what you find. It’s a combination physical and virtual game, and I’d like to play a couple rounds with the other attendees, get feedback to improve the design and flow of the game.
Alex Hornstein lives at the corner of invention, nature and adventure. A lifelong learner, teacher, hiker and tinkerer, Alex is in a perpetual electron orbit around the planet, oscillating between his lab, classrooms and remote corners of the world. For the past five years, Alex has been building machines to help us tell stories about the natural world, and spends a lot of time thinking about how we can be active participants in our own local environments, rather than passive observers of somebody else’s. When he’s not in the lab or behind a lens, you can find him on the tops of mountains or the bottom of the ocean, but always with his wife and daughter.
Project: Creating Digital Growth Structures from Homemade Microbial Ecosystems
In session one, participants will be given an introduction to BioArt artists and methods and will create Winogradsky Columns from local mud sources. They will be taught ways to collect data from their columns to use in session two. In session two, participants will learn to create an organic growth stimulator in TouchDesigner. They will take the data they collected over the week from their columns and input that data into their simulators to create their own unique digital growth systems. *
*Class structure can be altered if it needs to be one day. Also the kind of ecosystem can be altered to also me vinegar making.
Key Takeaways: Introduction to BioArt, Data Collection, and TouchDesigner
Structure: Two part workshop with ideally 1-2 weeks in between. First part has a focus on bio-art and physical making, while session two has a focus on digital techniques.
Materials: ● Test tubes with lids ● Chemical strips ● Popsicle sticks ● Latex gloves ● Egg shells ● Newspaper bits ● Mud ● Water ● Computer with TouchDesigner installed (program is free)
Organic Growth Structure Example
Maria Simmons is a hybrid artist from Hamilton, ON. She investigates potentialized environments through the creation of multidisciplinary sculpture and installation. Her work embraces contamination as an act of collaboration. She holds an MFA from the University of Waterloo and a BFA from McMaster University. She has recently exhibited at The Plumb, Platform, Ed Video Media Art Centre, and the Hamilton Artist Inc.
Workshop: ART±BIO Public Engagement and Community Outreach As Node Leaders, Stephanie and Saúl will bring an international, core group of ART±BIO Collaborative artists and scientists participating in a Field Studies of Art+Nature program to DiNaCon to utilize the natural habitats of Sri Lanka as a STUDIO+LAB to make bio-inspired art. Their group will also lead an open public engagement and community outreach event in Batticaloa that will creatively highlight the local ecology, animal behavior, and natural history of the area through artmaking, taking DiNaCon participants out of the conference and into the community. Find us on Twitter @artbiocollab
Bio ART±BIO Collaborative (ArtBioCollaborative.org) is an artist and scientist-led nonprofit organization based in Cambridge, MA USA, that fosters the integration of Science, Nature, and Art and focuses on broadening participation and accessibility in the Arts and Sciences through novel collaborations, public engagement, education, research, and the creation of Science Murals. The ART±BIO Collaborative strives to create and develop accessible and collaborative opportunities for historically underrepresented and marginalized communities and populations utilizing the intersection of the Arts, Biology, and Natural History as a catalyst for social dialogue and creative exchange of ideas with artists, scientists, and the public. The founders are Stephanie Dowdy-Nava, M.A., artist, arts administrator, and art educator and Saúl S. Nava, Ph.D., biologist, artist, and Professor of Biology at Massachusetts College of Art and Design.