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The present series Moderno Mori: Transcendence reimagines natural history specimens as an opportunity to visualize the abstract nature of taxonomies processes as they relate to the digital era. This project visualizes energy fields that depict the sublime and unimaginable.  It aims to capture the audience’s imagination and curiosity by presenting specimens in unrelated photographic poses not usually seen in the scientific way of illustration for taxonomy purposes. The ambiguity arrives when the specimens are captured in rare points of view, often leading viewers to question what they are seeing. At first, the subject will appear as recognizable, and the longer the viewer lingers, afterimages of the specimens appear. This shift is a disturbance in the visual field, that paired with pareidolia, allows an encounter to become an alternative experience. The circumstances that lead to this inquiry of questioning the subject matter, the coloring, and the positioning further develop inquiry on art and scientific discovery.  Photography and digital design serve as a tool for creative research processes. The final project serves as an extension to the library’s physical library at the Norris Center, inviting the audience to encounter an aesthetic designed for inspiration. The artwork in digital and printed form provides evidence of artifacts that exist and is valid for students and researchers. This project aims to transcend scientific illustration and taxonomy boundaries to reinvent ways to view specimens and collections not seen in California’s rural areas. Extracting the information from the museum’s flat files and cabinets and bringing them to life creates a bridge to the student learner’s curiosity about Natural History and Art. The extension of observation through an artistic lens provides a view of taxonomic specimens not currently widespread in use by educational institutions. While this series serves as an artistic research inquiry for a project, it allows viewers to become visitors, who may become Naturalists with the artistry presented and vice-versa. These photographs represent specimens at the Kenneth S. Norris Center for Natural History located in the Natural Sciences 2 Building at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

For more info on the Kenneth S. Norris Center click here.


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