Volvox Art Gallery. Image from www.volvox-stnk.net/.
If you’ve ever seen Volvox alive under a microscope, you probably remember it. They are beautiful, huge (relative to most things in a drop of pond water), and seemingly purposeful as they roll across the field of view. Volvox and its relatives have also played important roles in some big scientific and philosophical discussions, such as the evolution of multicellularity, the evolution of cooperation, and the nature of biological individuality. Given all that, it’s probably not too surprising that the volvocine algae, and Volvox in particular, have inspired a lot of art, including paintings,
Now Volvox is connected with art in a different way–an art gallery in Mie Prefecture in Japan (please forgive the somewhat crappy Google translation):
Beautiful microorganism-Volvox to grow to clean ponds and other water, and thousands of body cells to aggregate, has formed one of the solid. Sphere of solid live while cooperation, continue around and toward the light, always creates a new individual. This and the beautiful design of the minimum organisms have, in a simple and highly complete ecological system, superimposing the concept of VOLVOX, was named.
VOLVOX aims to be “place of free expression by making hand our own, created as a friendly space that is open to the city,” face-to-face “space in which local communications are stacked through the work.”
Michod, R. E., A. M. Nedelcu, and D. Roze. 2003. Cooperation and conflict in the evolution of individuality. IV. Conflict mediation and evolvability in Volvox carteri. BioSystems 69:95–114.