Plankton: Our Invisible Foundation

Plankton: Our Invisible Foundation
Black paper, reflective stickers, black light

Installation created for  Glow Digital Night at the Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History MAH, Santa Cruz, CA, October 2015.


Plankton: Our Invisible foundation is a participatory black light installation. The public is invited to add elements to a reflective mural representing an ensemble of enlarged plankton organisms. The black light makes the reflective elements seem to float in the space.

Plankton is a key element in marine ecosystems and is an important provider of precious oxygen for the planet. These little organisms, on top of being vital, are also amazingly beautiful.

The invisible world of plankton — its organisms are, for the most part, microscopic — represents food for a very large number of marine species. And phytoplankton, in particular, contributes up to 70% of the world’s oxygen to the atmosphere. As humans, we are largely unaware of the world of plankton and the critical foundation it serves for our present and future. It never surfaces in our thoughts and conversations. Yet plankton needs our attention: climate change is disrupting these foundational organisms, endangering the marine food web and beyond.

“Plankton: our invisible foundation” brings to visibility and into our conversation these tiny, but critical creatures to help visitors realize more about how much we need them.