The work is a reconstruction of a killifish habitat (puddle) in Guyana, a series of digital hydrodynamics simulations, a population of killifish (Rivulus uropthalmus) which has been found in that puddle, a truck tire which can be moved through the puddle. The installation is constructed over a former truck servicing pit.
During my killifish research for Lab JBF, I met Wim Suijker who collects and maintains killifish in his home, specializing in Rivulus. He showed me a photo taken during one of the field trips he and his wife undertakes each year to collect killifish from puddles in South America. The photo documents a puddle in the middle of a road, with a large truck driving through it. Every day, trucks drive through the puddle, water splashing everywhere. Still, the killifish apparently thrive in this environment.
How can it be possible for fish to live in a puddle like this, with trucks driving through it? And what is the significance of this intersection between technology and nature?
Having discussed the photo with a biologist, an engineer working with liquids, and several killifish collectors, four models have emerged:
1. The truck tires press the water aside and the fish with it -- the fish are not run over by the trucks.
2. The fish are pressed into the soft mud at the bottom -- force, pressure and tissue softness coincide to keep the fish alive.
3. Some fish are run over and killed every time a truck drives through, but the specific lifecycle of the killifish enable the puddle population to survive nevertheless.
4. The fish are able to sense and evade the tires through adaptation thanks to rapid generational change.
These ideas form the source for Puddle Drive-Through Simulation, an investigation in the biology and physics which motor this habitat.
Several computer simulations of a tire rolling through a puddle are calculated. Besides detailed animations, the simulations produce pressure and velocity data. In the images, a shockwave is moving in front of the tire, which could plausibly push a small fishlike body away from the tire. Further simulations will be carried out to verify this.
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