LEWISTON – Artist Byron Rich mixes art and science in a new exhibit set to begin with an opening reception from 2 to 4 p.m. next Sunday in Castellani Art Museum, on the campus of Niagara University. The exhibit continues through Feb. 8.
Rich describes his work as multi-disciplinary – embracing scientific amateurism and critical analysis of societal trends.
His exhibit, “Protista Imperialis v2.1” is the second of a series that began in 2011.
The work is designed to use human interaction. A computer monitors Twitter and Instagram in real time for #climatechange. For each use of the hashtag, the projected image of the ocean encroaches into the continents. A webcam hanging over a bioreactor provides a live view of the algae that defines the color of continents and enhances ocean color in the projections. A mic monitors activity around the piece and the LED array surrounding the algal growth is triggered with human interaction. Without the presence of the viewer the algae is not provided with the necessary light source.
Ultimately, the work is designed to encourage dialogue surrounding increasingly digitized interpersonal interactions and to learn whether it can be an agent for positive environmental awareness.
The artist is a native of Calgary, Alberta, and graduated from the University of Calgary with a bachelor of fine arts degree in new media and photography. Rich also earned a master’s degree in fine arts in emerging practices from the University at Buffalo. He is currently an assistant professor of digital art and painting at Allegheny College, Meadville, Pa.