Diatom art

Back in the Victorian times, microscopists would select certain diatoms under the microscope, then move them about on the slide with a single human hair mounted on a wooden shaft. Imagination ran riot and they created geometric designs, pretty scenes and cartoons before cementing them in place.

One can say this is one of the first attempts to create biological art, but it also one of the first forms of a basic "virtual" system where the user (here the microscopist) intervenes to create new worlds in a far removed system such as the microscopic world. Just like they had to use a microscope to access this world, we use computers to access and interact with the virtual world. It would be very fascinating if we could bring this long lost art into the modern world and what better medium to use than the digital tool.

image source http://thalassa.gso.uri.edu/