Self-developed Water Microscope, 2015
My recent research-creation projects involve observing and appreciating the world from various microscopic views, building artistic optical devices or light installations that consist of various liquid- water and soap solution, thus to emphasize the beauty of dynamic liquid flow. Along with these interests, Antony van Leeuwenhoek’s water microscopes, one of those earliest microscopes constructed during the 17century, further confirm me the sacred optical potential of water. Not to mention, how the reflection and refraction from the river water inspired ancient scholars and sparked the wisdom of optics science.
During the 10-day artist in residence in the Ottawa School of Art, I developed an artistic “water-drop microscope”. Unlike standardized glass lenses, water droplets give a sense of everydayness and simple intimacy. Each droplet with its unique shape is a mini-sculpture that opens a rich microscopic view. It brings about the dynamic interplay of the artistic device and observed image. By adjusting the height of the image inside the art device, there is a shift from microscopic view to monads-like vision. The water effect echoes the ancient Greek philosopher, Thales’ inquiries into nature and his water monism of the world. To him, water is a substance from which the entire cosmos emerged and everything in the world is a variation on water. Water, in this project, not only as a vehicle to see and observe the world from a new perspective, but also inspired us to understand the order, relations and nature of the world.