A few years ago, this poet hung out with field scientists—biologists/ecologists—who had terrific things to say about their work. Despite their different offices and buildings and bosses and discipline names and physical tools and conference destinations and governing bodies, the poet suspected the artist and the scientist shared more than a little common practice. It was true!! Scientists, too, are trained observers. John Dighton, the poet's colleague who studies fungus and mushrooms, told him (the poet) his careful looking (the scientist's) becomes a habit even in just daily life walking around. The poet said, ME TOO! Dighton also told the poet that during his training (the scientist's), scientists were required to draw whatever they looked at. And he told the poet about another scientist friend of his who said that when he retired, he just wanted to have a room and a microscope.
The poet's other colleague Leah Falk, also a poet!, showed the first poet we mentioned this website of surplus science gear and the poet saw these little handheld 16X microscopes. And the poet said, well I’m gonna get a bunch of those and give them away just so people can look at shit.
So the poet, who is a bored member of the Institute of Contemporary Collaborative Imagining, did it. And the poet turned it into a fellowship. Big grants are given to artists who use electron microscopes or who embed text and other things in your genes. This isn’t one of those fellowships . BUT…
Maybe you WILL look at a bunch of shit! Maybe you’ll make a drawing or a song or a story. Or maybe the microscope will sit on your kitchen table for a while Or maybe you give it to a child and ask them what they see. Or maybe the microscope will break. Or you’ll lose it… Or maybe you'll put your institution underneath it. Or maybe a team of spiders will carry the little machine off into a field. Or maybe… maybe… maybe…
You can hold on to the microscope for as long as you want. You can do what you want with it. The only thing that we ask is that you hand it off to someone you think might appreciate it as an object or a tool or as an occasion for paying attention or imagining. That is, you nominate the next fellow by passing the microscope along. If you could also give this note (or a copy of it or some version of it—oral, written, coded with flags, etc.) with the microscope to the next fellow that would be pretty great. And then that fellow can nominate the next person to receive the microscope and these non-instructions. And then it goes on and on around and around and around...
We have a limited supply of microscopes, but the model potentially allows everyone on the planet to be nominated at some point!
Eligibility: You want a little microscope (with a light and a battery included; we're counting on our fellows to assume the cost of replacing the battery or just using the microscope in good light... or in bad light and putting the dark under a 16x lens). And you don't mind passing it along to someone else who is likely to use/not-use it and pass it along.
To apply: Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with a few sentences or a drawing or something letting us know you're interested. And if you feel like telling us what you'll do with the microscope, that's cool. And especially if you feel like you have an idea of whom you'd pass the microscope on to, that's cool too! (We like exclamation points! And we don't know; how to use semi-colons;;) We'll need your mailing address to send you the microscope. Let us know if you want to be named in the ether or on one of these digital worlds as a recipient of the What Do You See? A Rotating Potentially Eternal Totally Whimsical Fellowship With Microscope. Feel free to list the honor on your resume or cv or in your promotion file, and if you're feeling especially weird put a smiley face after it :-) Or a bunch of semi-colons ;;;;;;;;;;;; like winks without the nose and mouth.
Deadline: March 31(ish), 2018(ish)
Another unfundable project brought to you by the Institute of Contemporary Collaborative Imagining. Pronounced "icky", baby.