Started as the 3D interactive art game, the World of Plankton, The Aquatic Messenger is the next episode of Rensselaer’s art/science educational underwater experience. The project is designed to inspire and engage youth 7 to 18 (and beyond) at the unseen micro-scale of phytoplankton and zooplankton in order to gain first-hand experience about the drama of underwater life and its serious potentials for environmental impact. Explore the awesome wonders lying in our waters!
We are resonating creative artistic inquiry and practice with the evolving scientific research of the Jefferson Project, a partnership between Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, IBM, and The Fund for Lake George in revolutionary environmental monitoring and remediation that combines a network of sensors in and around Lake George in measuring physical, chemical, and biological parameters with a far reaching outlook to help solve our earth’s freshwater crisis for “all kind”. We use the term “all kind” here to be inclusive of all of earth’s inhabitants, regardless of gender, nationality or race.
The Aquatic Messenger seeks ways to expand this inquiry and connect into a broader global and cultural understanding by creating artworks and environments that will enable us to see and hear what the lake is telling us as a total entity, and lead us to a deeper wisdom about how and why we need to protect our waterways.
Together we are asking the questions that no one discipline alone can ask.
- Resonating with the spirit of Galileo’s Starry Messenger (Sidereus Nuncius), The Aquatic Messenger is a time travel VR work, exploring the microscopic and planktonic life indicators of freshwater ecology
- Created in conjunction with the micropaleontology and freshwater plankton research being done on the Jefferson Project and Darrin Fresh Water Institute (DFWI) at Lake George
- Using advanced game and simulation technology, a team of student and faculty artists, scientists, music composers, programmers, and game designers are creating an artwork where these scientific discoveries will be revealed experientially
Travel through deep time and the corresponding aquatic life in the lake region:
Cambrian Epoch: 490 million years ago when the sea covered the lake with regional stromatolites from cyanobacterial mats
Devonian Epoch: 350 million years ago, “the age of fishes”, as revealed geologically in the Helderbergs
The Cenozoic Era
Pleistocene Epoch: 20,000 years ago when the Wisconsin ice sheet retreats, revealing hidden life including the Cohoes Mastodon, Ostracodes, Diatoms and Testate Amoebae
The Modern Era
Modern A: Native inhabitants, Impacts of Settlement in 1850’s, Salt in the 1970’s
Modern B: Current times up to 2020 and beyond with the instruments and data of the Jefferson Project sensor web, the Fund for Lake George and others helping to keep the lake clean.