Diatom Whisper: Alchemy

Diatoms turn silicon dissolved in water into intricate glass houses. They harvest marine carbon dioxide accounting for a quarter of all the photosynthesis on Earth. Diatoms make a larger contribution to fighting global warming than most plants on land by providing the Earth with 25% of the oxygen we breathe. They release oxygen as a waste product and when they die they sink to the bottom of the lake locking away carbon dioxide . There are are over 1,400 species of diatoms in the Great Lakes and due to the lack of plant life in the lake diatoms are one of the most important organisms in the lake’s ecosystem food chain.

Diatom Whisper: Alchemy integrates twelve microscopy images of diatoms collected from Lake Superior into the new Marina Skate Park. They are made from cast and fused glass and are housed in stainless steel frames with solar LED lighting, and provide light in the skate park. 

Each diatom is labelled with the name of the species and a didactic panel provides viewers with educational information on diatoms and our interconnectedness with them.

Public Art, Marina Skate Park, City of Thunder Bay, ON, 2009