'Body Beasts'

Slime Mold on Straw in my Los Angeles backyard

Sep 3rd, 2012 by vanessa | 0

Last night I deep-watered our fig tree in the backyard, a spot that I had covered with straw about a month ago to help protect moisture. To my surprise, this morning I woke up to a yellow organism on top of the straw. At first I thought a leftover can of Great Stuff from my ‘Plot’ project had leaked. But on closer inspection it turns out to be Slime Mold, Fuligo septica, commonly known as dog’s vomit. The measures that slime mold undergoes are just as impressive as their bizarre looks. Within hours during the night mold must travel to a conducive surface, re-structure itself, in order to release spores the next day.

“Green Lens” talk at USC’s IML: September 22, 2010

Sep 20th, 2010 by vanessa | 0

Social Media Week iPhone APP: Vanessa VobisLos Angeles is hosting part of Social Media Week, this week!  Featuring an array of workshops, parties, talks, and online components, the distributed conference is proceeding in all parts the networked world.  I’m excited to give a SMW talk this Wednesday at USC’s Institute for Multimedia Literacy.  It’s open to the public, so please feel free to attend.

A Green Lens: Special Talk on the Natural History Museum by Vanessa Vobis
Wednesday, September 22, 2010 at 6:30 PM (PT)
USC Institute for Multimedia Literacy (map)

The talk will intertwine three components via a historical timeline: The Los Angeles County Natural History Museum, my creative work, and a hands-on workshop. Here’s what will happen: I’ll start out with my timeline (including videos) and each time a new historical change occurs in the timeline, materials will be placed on the table (for the workshop).  By the end of my timeline/talk all materials will be on the table to construct individual vivarium jars by each participant.   I’ll procure all materials (including containers), but feel free to bring along your own jars or plants to share.

Image: Social Media Week’s iPhone App featuring the talk

Bug Fair at the LA Natural History Museum: May 15 & 16, 2010

May 15th, 2010 by vanessa | 0

Amongst the roaches, butterflies, and scorpions lining the tables of this weekend’s Bug Fair at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles, you’ll see something on the macroscopic scale: large stuffed dust mite sculptures made out of re-claimed sweaters from second-hand stores.

Featured in a few of my previous installations and videos, the mites feel right at home this enthusiastic bug-centered event! I had a number of great conversations with bug experts and novices alike on Saturday. If in the LA area on Sunday, come check us out!

Bug Fair
May 15th: 9:30 a.m. - 5 p.m.
May 16th: 9:30 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Free with museum admission
The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles

Floods: Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Jun 20th, 2008 by vanessa | 0

Right image by Cliff Jette/The Gazette

The artist-run gallery CSPS as well as many Cedar Rapids-based artists have been affected by the floods. Please visit CSPS’ web site to find out more about donating to their artist fund:

Nitpickers, April 2nd extended to June 1st

Mar 27th, 2008 by vanessa | 0

Nitckpickers at Legion Arts | CSPS in Cedar Rapids.



Oct 5th, 2007 by vanessa | 1

Body Beasts videoAccompanying Body Beasts is a six-minute film depicting used sweaters manipulated and sown into shapes of grotesquely enlarged bugs. The abject creatures traverse the landscape of the human body as well as domestic environments and provide jarring relationships through shifts of scale and contexts. We see them fly through the air, crash to the floor, analyzed in labs, vainly vacuumed, and given back massages. The video examines our instinctual repulsion for the millions of creatures that live, eat, and sleep with us in a continuously symbiotic relationship.

Body Beasts

Jun 12th, 2007 by vanessa | 1

006.jpgBody Beasts was a multimedia investigation into the uncanny nature of dust mites. The research resulted in disjunctive relationships through shifts of scale and contexts. I explored dualities of sensual tactility and distrusting, fungal, and microscopic references, as I co-mingled disparate sentiments, such as repulsion and attraction, in single pieces. Because my work has a strong natural science overtone I explore viewer’s perception between inspecting vs. experiencing.