Photographer Mary Whalen and Dr. Sharon Gill, professor of Biological Sciences at Western Michigan University, have developed a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) project, incorporating science and art to understand and visualize our environment and it’s history. The project merges Mary’s photographs of museum specimens with Sharon’s soundscape recordings, a blend of visual history and naturalism, as well as modern technology.
The collaboration has several layers; it presents natural science in a way to provoke the inherent inquisitive nature of the viewer, create awareness of the bird sounds – in a nature preserve and our own backyard, using ornithological specimens as subject for art-making, to contemplate the similar approaches and inquires that scientists and artists share in their practice. The exhibition hopefully makes/helps the viewer, children and adults alike, to ask questions of the natural world and become a perceptive “student of the environment”.
Wet plate collodion is an early 19th century photographic process that yields strikingly clear images on metal and glass plates. The Kalamazoo Nature Center’s (KNC) Glenn Vista Gallery lends itself to the collaborators’ vision of an exhibit that includes many of the plates already made, in addition to new work and soundscapes captured in areas home to the photographed birds.
This field trip package includes a 45-minute guided looking of Division of Birds with an EFA Teaching Artist plus a 45-minute self-guided exploration of the KNC’s hand’s-on nature exhibits. Visits may be booked for two classes at a time.