Photini (Biomimetic Fireflies)
China Blue

January 31 - March 16, 2013

China Blue is an artist who captures the tenor of our times by transforming common electronic waste into environmentally focused biomimetic artwork that also sings. In Firefly Tree she translates the firefly’s rhythmic signaling pattern into sound (the Firefly Chorus) and light (blinking LEDs). Fireflies today are threatened due to habitat encroachment and light pollution, making them even more precious as the illumination of cities and towns overwhelm their delicate mating light show.


The rhythmic pattern of the firefly calls is a significant component of Firefly Tree. This pattern is featured by the data sonification of the Firefly Chorus and the data visualization controlling the LED’s blinking rate. This dual reference underscores the biomimetic nature of the work both visually and acoustically while providing an original and imaginative way of simultaneously injecting form and content.


Firefly Tree was awarded the 2012 Rhode Island State Council on the Arts Fellowship in New Genres and nominated in 2012 for Best Monographic Museum Show and by the International Association of Art Critics. The work was also reviewed by Ed Rubin in the November 2012 edition of Sculpture Magazine.


Reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.


View the catalog here.



About the Artist
China Blue is a two-time NASA/RI Space Grant recipient, a RISCA New Genres Fellowship recipient and an internationally exhibiting artist who was the first person to record the acoustics of the Eiffel Tower and NASA’s Vertical Gun in Moffitt Field, CA. She represented the US at OPEN XI in Venice, Italy, an exhibition held in conjunction with the Architecture Biennale. Reviews of her work have been published in The New York Times, Art in America, Art Forum, Artcritical and Sculpture Magazine. She has been an invited speaker at Harvard, Yale, MIT, Berklee College of Music, Reed College and Brown University and an adjunct professor and Fellow at Brown University. She is the Founder and Executive Director of The Engine Institute, Inc, a non-profit dedicated to promoting the nexus of art, science and technology.


Image courtesy the artist.