My good friend and amazing artist, Jenny Morgan, found a caterpillar in Brooklyn the other day, noting how bizarre it was that this bright fuzzy creature was moping about on the all but lush streets of Brooklyn. We wondered what it might turn into during its lifespan. It reminded me of an artist that I saw speak at a TEDx Conference held at my alma mater, the School of Visual Arts. The artist was Victoria Vesna, and she spoke about a project that she had been working on called Blue Morph (see the TEDx talk here) in which she had teamed up with biologists to record the sound of metamorphosis by "detecting nanoscale motions of the pupa surface using atomic force microscopy (AFM) and optical beam deflection" (I don't know much about what this actually means, but you can listen to it here... and read more about it here...). Outside of this being a fantastic interdisciplinary collaboration, the sounds that Victoria and her team recorded were not a slow, steady, culmination of energy, but rather violent bursts of what seem to be painful transformations. It might be silly to say, but this supernatural morphing process still sort of blows my mind. When you are told about metamorphosis as a kid, you sort of just take it at face value, yeah the caterpillar turns into a butterfly. SOMETHING happens in that cocoon, but I guess I never truly thought about what must actually go on in that tiny body, to the even tinier cells. Nothing even remotely close happens to us... sure we grow, and we certainly experience growing pains, and sure, maybe awkward middle school adolescence would have been slightly more bearable if we could have hidden away in tiny cocoons, but really, this is science fiction, right here in our own hemisphere. I think the only thing I can liken to this is the transformations that we endure in our psyche, which are not manifest in physicality for the most part, but can be just as violent and mysterious as this insect metamorphosis. Especially because it doesn't accelerate at a steady pace, and because it doesn't crescendo smoothly, but bounces in and out of understanding and struggle, sometimes writhing, sometimes resting.