In early 2007, while the artist-in-residence at Harvard Medical School, I photographed frogs, Xenopus tropicalis, as they metamorphosed from tadpole to juvenile. I bought and set up aquarium supplies, learned how to care for the animals, and developed techniques to limit their movement while keeping them in a natural state. I also worked out a way to photograph them daily at high-resolution with minimal shadow and highlight artifacts, resulting in several thousand photographs of developing frogs. I filtered out the interesting or useful images, manipulated them, and created a continuous video showing the frogs slowly growing, changing, and cycling from tadpole to juvenile and back. The prints and video have formed, and continue to form, the basis for works of art including Frog Time and Frog Triplets, both non-repeating video installations, and Twin Paths, a series of 16 photographic prints. Touching every stage of the process in this way encouraged me to think through my ideas and develop concrete methodologies for dealing with the animals, prints, and videos.
The pieces have shown at the Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art, Peekskill, NY; Ronald Feldman Fine Arts, NY, NY; Judi Rotenberg Gallery, Boston, MA; and the McColl Center for Visual Art, Charlotte, NC. The installation won the IBM Boston Cyberarts Innovation Award in 2007.
This work was generously supported by the Department of Systems Biology at Harvard Medical School, and the LEF Foundation. Special thanks to Marc Kirschner and his lab and in particular Brian Frederick for teaching me all I know about frogs.