Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Living Jellies

Images from the Jellies: Living Art show at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, Monterey, CA. This was an amazing show which displayed tanks of live jellyfish alongside artwork inspired by jellies themselves. For example, the entrance featured a display of seaforms by Dale Chihuly. I wandered through the show several times in one afternoon. I kept returning to it. (The show is now closed; I arrived at the Aquarium in its last week or two, and was grateful I'd seen it.)

My favorite room was the moon jellies room, which was very dimly lit, with jellies in tanks on two walls, and the other two walls being mirrored. The visitor can see him or herself, but only dimly, and the mirrors also reflect the moving jellies on the other walls. A quiet room, a meditative room, very calm and quiet. A kind of sacred space, with living things as the objects of contemplation. It made a terrific meditation room.

And there were more baroque forms, more colorful, more exotic. Tentacles colored by algae growing symbiotically within the jelly itself.

Jellies are drifters: they flow with the ocean currents, and their food comes to them. They are mostly made of water, and in some species are almost invisible to the eye. Others glow as though alive with light, sending rainbows through the water. In the tanks, they moved slowly, pulsing gently, sometimes drifting upside down in their weightless environment. The moon jellies in particular rhythmically pulse, gently moving themselves through the water by inflating and contracting. It was hypnotic to watch for a long period of time.

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Blogger Dominic Rivron said...

Amazing photos. People often wonder what strange forms of life might exist on other planets (I know I do). We should start by taking a close look at this one.

10:27 AM  
Blogger Jim Murdoch said...

Yes, beautiful, every one of them but then I think my pudgy goldfish is beautiful.

1:16 PM  
Blogger Art Durkee said...

Yeah, I got lucky with the lighting and my Really Good Camera that allows me shoot in low light conditions. The moon jellies were difficult but rewarding to shoot; that was my favorite room.

Sorry, folks, these have to be color photos, not black and white. We'll get back to the B&W later on the trip, trust me on that. (I'm almost home, after 5 weeks on the road, but I plan to keep posting photos and journal excerpts in chronological order, more or less.)

1:28 PM  
Blogger Rachel Fox said...

They are properly amazing! I was staring at one a while back in a quay in Dundee. I could have kept looking for days.

6:23 AM  
Blogger Art Durkee said...

Racehl, that's exactly how I felt in the moon room. Fascinating creatures they are, indeed.

8:39 AM  

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