C. elegans See Pieter Bruegel the Elder, or Problems of Mystic Positivism Movements I. - III.
microscopic video, Pieter Bruegel the Elder glass projection slides, nematodes, augr, music excerpts from Mort Garons's Plantasia and Ataraxia: The Unexplained
Caenorhabditis elegans, a phylum of Nemotoda roundworms exhibiting negative phototaxis, feel their way through the light in Pieter Bruegel the Elder's paintings The Tower of Babel, Peasant's Dance (detail), and The Blind Leading the Blind. Each painting is projected through slides onto a microscopic stage of C. elegans suspended in agar, a medium to aid in movement and tunneling. A microscope camera shifts focus from the image plane to the projection below it where the roundworms explore its edges for comfortable spaces within the paintings' light.
The subjects of Pieter Bruegel the Elder's painting paired with the classic composer Mort Garson's audio themes on mysticism problematize the empirical nature of positivist scientific research. The first and third movements offer parables for potential follies of linear research. The second movement references Bruegel's appreciation for the humble peasant as his subject just as the scientist appreciates the humble roundworm's elegance.