The mesmerizing images of plant minutiae reproduced on the Microcosms website invite us to see the world at a different scale. A microscopic image of pollen grains, for instance, renders what we would usually perceive as a layer of fine dust into an artwork that seems to be teeming with strange, beautiful objects. Focusing in on the diversity of plant life and its patterns is as if we’ve followed Alice into Wonderland. And like in Gulliver’s Travels, the changed proportions of our world in these defamiliarizing images leave us wondering what else we might have never seen this way before. The accompanying descriptions help us re-contextualize and expand our understanding of vegetal life with Indigenous views of the world. Ultimately, Microcosms shows that science and art have always gone hand in hand—it’s just a matter of perspective.
Joela Jacobs, German Studies Professor at the University of Arizona, Founder of the Literary and Cultural Plant Studies Network