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Jim Cogswell's U-M Museum of Natural History Installation

Vinyl text on glass windows.

Arthur F. Thur­nau Pro­fes­sor Jim Cogswell is cre­at­ing a site-spe­cific instal­la­tion for the Uni­ver­sity of Michi­gan Museum of Nat­ural His­tory, located at the heart of the U‑M cam­pus in a new build­ing at 1105 North Uni­ver­sity Avenue in Ann Arbor. Instal­la­tion of the project begins in late August and will con­tinue through early Novem­ber 2021

Fea­tur­ing adhe­sive an adhe­sive vinyl frieze on the glass win­dows of the Washt­e­naw Avenue lobby entrance and the series of win­dows along the stairs to the main floor museum atrium, the instal­la­tion responds to the world of microorganisms. 

With COVID-19, microor­gan­isms dra­mat­i­cally migrated from nat­ural sci­ence and med­i­cine onto cen­ter stage in pol­i­tics, his­tory, and civil soci­ety,” Cogswell said. 

A nat­ural sci­ence museum makes acces­si­ble the rare and exotic, but much of its fas­ci­na­tion is cen­tered in the trans­for­ma­tion of the every­day over­looked. The images in this project orig­i­nate with sci­en­tific research into a ubiq­ui­tous yet gen­er­ally unseen domain of our nat­ural world, trans­formed and reframed as col­or­ful images in pub­lic spaces. On the museum win­dows a com­mon­place com­mer­cial mate­r­ial will bring to pub­lic atten­tion the fas­ci­nat­ing diver­sity of these life forms, pro­vok­ing an aware­ness of their essen­tial and inescapable pres­ence in our lives.”

Cogswell has worked with Stamps stu­dents Sky Cristoph (BFA 23) and Kai Hamill (BFA 21) as researchers and stu­dio assis­tants for this project, along­side Bev­erly Fu, a Micro­bi­ol­ogy major in the Hon­ors College.