The BioBus crew is still finding glitter behind their ears and on their cheeks after last weekend’s art and science explosion at the FIGMENT art festival on Governor’s Island. The BioBus was just one of over 200 participation-driven, hands-on, experimental projects catering to adventurous visitors during this free annual public event.
Flanked by a dance floor and a station with over 300 cardboard boxes for playhouse building, the BioBus provided a unique opportunity for observation, participation, and creation.
Outside the bus, a handheld personal microscope wowed passers-by with images of their eyeballs and arm hairs magnified up to 140 times. Individuals who boarded the bus got to meet our scanning electron microscope and zoom over 1,000 times on a butterfly wing, oo-ing and ahh-ing at its intricate and beautiful structures. In the back of the bus, more mobile scientists manned another microscope and let all ages fiddle and take pictures to print out and use in their artwork outside.
With supplies lent by the Lower East Side Girls Club, the BioBus featured a creative tent where participants could use acrylic paint, glitter, fabric, sidewalk chalk, face paint, and more to express themselves. The photographic souvenirs generated with microscopes and printed inside the bus were often used outside the bus as inspiration for colorful, glitterful, wonderful artwork.
One woman remarked, “I love that the outside is covered in crayon pictures. It makes it such a surprise when you come on board and find out that there is serious science going on!” The BioBus got totally decked out as festival participants taped their creations on the starboardside of bus. [This seafarin’ allusion is merely one of many in a recent trend on the BioBus. Putting the bus aboard a boat was definitely one of the many triumphs of this past weekend. Please note that as a result of this recent voyage to Governor’s Island, Dr. Ben has begun to refer to himself as “Captain Ben.]
Overall, the BioBus’s first fling at FIGMENT was a veritable creative milieu of maritime magic, inquisitive minds, and as always, magnificent microscopes.
– Li Murphy