Back to Organisms as Art

Brandon Ballengée

Website: http://www.disk-o.com/malamp/

webarchive link his site local drive

http://www.queensmuse.org/exhibitions/crosstheline.html


 

Brandon Ballengee, The Ever Changing Tide:
The Ecological Dynamics of the Earth's Oceans
a Exemplified through the Biodiversity of the
Flushing New York Seafood Markets, 2001 Brian Tolle, A propasal for the towers of New York State Building, Flushing Meadows Corona Park

 

Crossing the Line
June 24 - October 7, 2001
Crossing the Line - between art and life, observation and participation, creativity and expression, perception and reality - in an extraordinary multi-site, multi-cultural, multi-media extravaganza. As many as fifty emerging and established artists, are creating site-specific works in and around the museum, and in neighboring Queens communities. The exhibition aims to ignite greater interaction among the museum's constituents, fostering awareness and understanding of art's place within the borough.

Artists selected for this exhibition are known for developing their ideas through an investigative process and are themselves a microcosm of the ethnic mix unique to the Borough of Queens. Some installations will allow viewers to experience the creative process firsthand, since the work will evolve during the exhibition period.

Some highlights from the exhibition include:Robyn Love, is creating a mirrored curtain at the Ganesanjali Hindu Temple in Flushing. James Montford, along with different community groups, will design banners to fly on the six flagpoles attached to the Museum's façade, representing different Queens cultural and educational institutions. Rita McBride will design a murphy bed for the uniquely large elevator at the Queens Museum of Art. Jaime Permuth will photograph the Mexican migrant and immigrant community around Roosevelt Avenue, in collaboration with community leaders. Prema Murthy will use Internet technologies to exchange images between the busiest streets of Bombay and Jackson Heights and provide video-conferencing via computers at community centers in each neighborhood.

Participating artists will submit audio materials connected to their projects, for a compact disc (edited by artist Stephen Vitiello), which will be a part of the exhibition catalogue.

Valerie Smith, Director of Exhibitions brings this vibrant concept to life in our community after producing a similar city-wide exhibition, Sonsbeek 93, in Arnhem, The Netherlands. Artforum magazine ranked Sonsbeek 93 among the top ten shows of the 1990s.

Queens Borough President Claire Shulman, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, New State Council on the Arts, the Elizabeth Firestone-Graham Foundation, Cowles Charitable Trust, and Citibank, among others, are providing generous support, both financial and in-kind for Crossing the Line and its many educational programs.

In addition to those previously mentioned, the following artists will display their works throughout the borough in collaboration with: Jaishri Abichandani, Manuel Acevedo, Mark R. Dion, Nicolás Dumit Estévez, Paul Etienne Lincoln, Robert Martinez, Pepón Osorio, Thasnai Sethaseree and Rirkrit Tiravanija, SLAAAP! (David Chae, Geeta Citygirl Chopra, Chitra Ganesh, Raymond Kim, Ahn Lee, Harune Massey, Saeed Rahman, Bushra Rehman, John Squires, and Judy Yu), Brian Tolle, Mia Wood, and Nari Ward.

The artists exhibiting their works within the QMA include: Matthew Bakkom, Brandon Ballengée, Bob Braine, Barbara Broughel, Omar Lopez-Chahoud (working in conjunction with Aidas Bareikis, Robert Beck, Dexter Buell, Mary Ellen Carroll, Christoph Girardet, Jenny Perlin, Guy Richards-Smit, Fatimah Tuggar, and James Yamada), Chris Doyle, Maria Elena Gonzalez, Christopher Ho and Trevor Mahovsky. Video Cafe includes following artists: Swati Khurana, Rita McBride, Alan Michelson, Jaime Permuth, Rebecca Quaytman, Sontext (Debora Warner and Steve Hamilton), Vargas-Suarez Universal, Stephen Vitiello, Fred Wilson, Thomas Zummer.
Paul Etienne Lincoln, The Purification of
Fagus Sylvatica Var Pendula, 2001
Jenny Perlin, Capsules, 2001
Brandon Ballengee, The Ever Changing Tide:
The Ecological Dynamics of the Earth's Oceans
a Exemplified through the Biodiversity of the
Flushing New York Seafood Markets, 2001
Aidas Bareikis, Untitled, 2001
Manuel Acevedo, Weeping Tree, 2001

 
 
 

 

 

 

NURTUREart Artist's Portfolio

http://www.nurtureart.org/artists/bballe_.htm

Brandon Ballengée "The Atomic Frog Series: AF # 3-24"
1998
Graphite drawings
69" x 212"
Atomic frogs are available framed $700., unframed $625.
Contact:
NURTUREart
160 Cabrini Blvd., PH 134
New York, NY 10033-1145
212-795-5566
gjrobins@erols.com

 

 


NURTUREart Artist's Profile
Brandon Ballengée

"The Atomic Frog Series: AF # 3-24"
"The work attempts to blur the already ambiguous boundaries between conceptual art and scientific exploration. The intention of the process is targeted at the wall between environmental art and field ecology."
Media
* Installation/Assemblage
* Sculpture
* Works on Paper
Exhibitions
* "The End: An Alternative Vision of Contemporary Culture," curated by Jeanette Ingberman and Papo Colo, Exit Art/ The First World, New York, NY, Jan. - Feb. 2000
* "Synergetic Observations," The Cornell Medical Center, New York, NY, Nov. 1999 - Jan. 2000
* "NURTUREart @ the Consulate," Juried Group Exhibition by NURTUREart Non-Profit, Inc., Consulate of the Republic of Hungary, New York, NY, Oct. 1999
Awards
* Merit Scholarship; Art Academy of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, Ohio, 1993-1995
* Merit Scholarship; Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore, Maryland, 1992-1993
* Emerging Artists Grant; Wendel Foundation, Columbus, Ohio, Mendi Wendel 1992
Reviews
"...In Mr. Ballengée's installation, the balance has been shifted, slowly but just as destructively, by a different kind of hostile influence. His piece "Acme. Labs, Variation 4 (Further Examinations of Lumbricus terretris fermi)," uses the classic science-fiction device of mutating an innocuous creature into a monstrosity by exposure to radioactivity. In this case, it is an earthworm serving as the canary in the coal mine that alerts humans to the presence of a deadly but unseen hazard."
- Helen A. Harrison, The New York Times, Sunday, September 12, 1999
 
 
"...Is it a mutant earthworm transformed by an atomic blast, a metamorphosed vine run amok or the entrails of an alien being? 'Acme Labs,' the fevered offspring of a 1950s sci-fi B-grade flick and the most up-to-date episode of 'The X Files," doesn't offer answers, but does deliver dread and paranoia."
- Judith Bernstein, NEWSDAY, Friday, September 17, 1999
 
"...The current exhibitor, Brandon Ballengée, has the space to himself for 'Acme Labs Variation,' a black light installation whose anti-pollution message is softened by its modest beauty."
- Roberta Smith, The New York Times, Friday, November 6, 1998

Education
* The New York Studio Program, New York City, 1995
* The Art Academy of Cincinnati, Ohio, 1993-1995
* The University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati Ohio, 1994
* The Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore Maryland, 1992-1993
Price Range of Work
* $300-$10,000
Note: All entries are selections from recent activities and do not comprise the artist's complete history.
Vita brevis, Ars longa.

 

more info about frog series: artist statement

http://www.parcplace.org/PARCArtWeb/BrandonPages/BBimage9.htm


Brandon Ballengée
"The Atomic Frog Series: 
AF # 3-24"
69" x 212"
Graphite drawings
$  700.00 (framed)
$  625.00 (unframed)
Next image by BBContact (e-mail): obsoletestudios@hotmail.com(Text for Brandon Ballengée's pages is by the artist)A newly discovered fungus, of the chytrid family, is suspected of killing off large quantities of already threatened species throughout the globe.8 This type of fungus was known previously to only be found on decaying matter and insects. What is being called a "mutated" strand of chytrid fungus appears to be attacking the soft mucous skin of the frogs. Amphibians rely heavily on oxygen obtained through their skin. The fungus seems to be suffocating the frogs by growing until it covers the animal completely. The fungi has been found on dead specimens throughout rain forests in Central and South America, in zoos in the United Kingdom, and most recently in a nature preserve in Australia. Scientists don't know how the fungus has been able to travel to such a wide range of areas. 
Researchers at the National Academy of Science conducted a test proving the dangerous ramifications of the fungal epidemic. The experiment involved researchers scraping fungi contaminated skin off of dead frogs and using it to infect the water of healthy frogs. After a few weeks the exposed frogs were dead or dying. Though the test proved the fungi to be a fatal agent in the demise of the observed frogs, a pure chytrid sample has yet to be isolated and used for testing. Researchers also do not believe this fungus is linked to the malformed amphibian problem. 
In the spring of 1998, I had the opportunity to interview field biologist Elizabeth Dominque of the U.S. Geological Survey Biological Research Division. Ms. Dominique is part of a team of field researchers doing a five year population study on salamanders native to the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. The park is one of the largest preserves of North American amphibians in the country. She spoke of difficulties the team was having raising federal money to continue the project. Being an artist that has received more than a few rejection letters from federally offered grants, I know how she felt. We discussed current research being done around the world and the different theories currently being researched. She suggested that, in her opinion, and in the growing opinion of many of her colleagues, we may be seeing more than one large scale problem! There maybe no single answer to these alarming statistics. Instead, we may be witnessing many environmental warnings occurring all at once. 
Since this project began I solicited the materials of researchers around the world. I would like to thank the scientists whom have taken the time to correspond with me and allowed me to draw from their photographs. A special thank you to Dr. Stanley Sessions and his lab assistants for allowing me to document specimens and answering my many questions. A special thank you to Mr. Pete Warny for taking me along on field surveys. 
by Brandon Ballengée 1999 
If you have any questions, comments, or any information about malformed amphibians, please contact Brandon at obsoletestudios@hotmail.com
(Return to Brandon's beginning page)

 

 

 

Brandon Ballengée
"Malformed Amphibian Project"
Hyla regilla/ Pacific treefrog (supernumeracy-third hind limb) July 1987 Northern California pond
12" x 12"
pulverized charcoal and coffee
 on artist's recycled paper
$ 250.00
Next image by BBContact (e-mail): obsoletestudios@hotmail.com

The Malformed Amphibian Project 
Dismayed by numerous reports of declining and abnormally shaped herptiles reported globally, I use amphibians as a transmutable protagonist. The project is an ongoing series of drawings executed by using data collected from a wide range of sources about the current international biological study of mutated, malformed, and disappearing frogs and salamanders. (Next page)  
 
 
 
 
Brandon Ballengée
"Malformed Amphibian Project"
Rana pipiens/ Northern Leopard Frog (category 2 deformity- missing hind limb) 1995-1996 collected in
Vermont
12" x 12"
pulverized charcoal and coffee
  on artist's recycled paper
$ 250 .00
Next image by BBContact (e-mail): obsoletestudios@hotmail.com(Text for Brandon Ballengée's pages is by the artist)

http://www.parcplace.org/PARCArtWeb/BrandonPages/BBimage2.htm
A Brief History of Amphibian Declines 
and Mutations 
It was in 1989 that scientists meeting in England for a herpetology conference made an alarming discovery that everywhere their colleagues were noticing amphibian declines, disappearances, mutations, and malformations. Reports came in from virtually all over the globe--- even from remote and pristine areas, like Yosemite National Park and protected rain forests in Brazil, where habitat loss from industrial expansion could not be a factor. 
Some of the most publicized cases are the recently extinct Golden Toad of Costa Rica, the Gastric Brooding Frogs of Australia, and the Golden and Web-footed Coquis of Puerto Rico! According to George Rabb, of the Chicago Zoological Society and the Task Force on Amphibian Declines and Deformities, more than 200 amphibian species are now extinct, critical, or endangered.1 
Even previously abundant species such as the Northern Leopard Frog (until a decade ago harvested by the thousands for laboratory experiments) have been reported as becoming harder and harder to find, and to be extinct in Ireland now! Coincidentally the Northern Leopard Frog in North America is not just becoming rare, but of the specimens collected hundreds of them are physically impaired! 
Amphibian anomalies have been recorded back as far as at least two centuries, but it was not until 1995 when a group of Minnesota school children on a field trip found dozens of multi-legged and misshapen leopard frogs and with that scientists began to worry about the increasing phenomena! A few years earlier, Minnesota state officials had looked into a report about malformed frogs, but after news broke nationwide of the children's discovery, the first comprehensive study began to take place. (Next page)  


Brandon Ballengée
 
"Malformed Amphibian Project"
Hyla regilla/ Pacific treefrog (supernumeracy-four hind limbs) July 1986 Santa Cruz County, California
12" x 12"
pulverized charcoal and coffee
  on artist's recycled paper
$ 250 .00
Next image by BBContact (e-mail): obsoletestudios@hotmail.com(Text for Brandon Ballengée's pages is by the artist)The highly publicized case lead to a virtual wildfire of malformed amphibian reports arising from all over the United States and Canada. Scientists reported that in some ponds and lakes, the rate of malformations were as high as 80% of the frogs surveyed; overall, in Minnesota, Quebec, and Vermont, about 8% of frogs sampled were afflicted with abnormalities---most often missing or malformed hind limbs.2 
'We believe that we have shown there is something operating or active in the water,' says Mark Gernes of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency in St. Paul.3 Water from several wetland sites had a pronounced effect on laboratory tests. Water samples were sent to toxicologists at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) in Research Triangle Park, N.C., which conducted experiments using African Clawed Frog embryos. Researchers grew the embryos in different concentrations of the Minnesota water for 96 hours, then recorded the numbers that died or developed any abnormality. 
Undiluted pond water from two of the sites caused abnormalities in 100% of the embryos. Pond sediments, ground water, and tap water from nearby private wells also affected the embryos' development. Public interest and health concerns prompted the announcement of the early results,  which have not yet been published or released in full. In what officials are calling a precautionary measure, the agency began providing bottled water to Minnesota residents who live near the sites. 
Scientists consider amphibians to be a 'sentinel' species---they existed long before the dinosaurs and have evolved through a number of environmental shifts. Due to their aquatic gestation period they are particularly sensitive (in early development) to waterborne agents. Also, due to the mucous based skin membrane, they are susceptible to damage caused airborne contaminates, which may prove fatal to the organism and/or result in residual contamination in the animal's offspring. (Next page)  

 

 

Brandon Ballengée
 
"Malformed Amphibian Project"
Hyla regilla/ Pacific treefrog (supernumeracy-four hind limbs) July 1986 Santa Cruz County, California
12" x 12"
pulverized charcoal and coffee
  on artist's recycled paper
$ 250 .00
Next image by BBContact (e-mail):

 


Brandon Ballengée
"Malformed Amphibian Project"
Rana catesbeiana/ Bullfrog (extra hind limb buds, skeletal deformity, malformed upper jaw, misshapen eyes) September 1997 Perry County, Ohio
12" x 12"
pulverized charcoal and coffee
  on artist's recycled paper
$ 250 .00
Next image by BB

 

Contact (e-mail): obsoletestudios@hotmail.com(Text for Brandon Ballengée's pages is by the artist

)Often when researchers are sent to investigate for signs of pollutants they will start by dissecting frogs-looking for possible toxins located in the animals digestive organs, bones, or genetic make-up. Apparently, certain industrial pollutants, such as lead and mercury, absorbed through the animals skin may cause immediate death or collect in the animals body.4 Other more horrific examples include wastes from the nuclear power industry that mimic natural chemicals inside cellular structures, such as strontium 90 mimicking calcium in developing limb tissues of tadpoles as well as human embryos. Strontium 90 is a beta releasing radionuclide with a half-life of about thirty years. It is suspected of causing many immediate and delayed ill health effects in humans including; increased infant mortality, spontaneous abortions, low birthweights, birth defects, prostate cancer, breast cancer, hypothyroidism, sterility, and immune deficiency disorders such as leukemia.5 (Next page)  

 

Brandon Ballengée
"Malformed Amphibian Project"
Rana catesbeiana/ Bullfrog (extra hind limb buds, skeletal deformity, malformed upper jaw, misshapen eyes) September 1997 Perry County, Ohio
12" x 12"
pulverized charcoal and coffee
  on artist's recycled paper
$ 250 .00
Next image by BB
Contact (e-mail): obsoletestudios@hotmail.com

 


Brandon Ballengée
"Malformed Amphibian Project"
Hyla regilla/ Pacific treefrog (supernumeracy-eight hind limbs, partial hind limbs) July 1987 Northern California pond
12" x 12"
pulverized charcoal and coffee
  on artist's recycled paper
$ 250 .00
Next image by BB
Contact (e-mail): obsoletestudios@hotmail.com(Text for Brandon Ballengée's pages is by the artist)In a paper entiltled 'Investigation of Malformed Northern Leopard Frogs in Minnesota' by Judy Helgen, Robert G. McKinnell, and Mark Gernes, the Minnesota team attempts to link malformation to a chemical culprit.5 One theory is bioaccumalation of industrial pollutants inside of adult frogs may affect developing sperm and eggs. In female Northern Leopard frogs the gestation cycle of eggs takes two years. Theoretically enough time for the adult to absorb a given amount of a chemical or chemicals. If this theory is correct, when eggs hatch the tadpoles already have a residual build-up of environmental contaminants that may hinder their ability to develop normally. 
A large number of scientists working on deformed frogs believe that the cause is pesticide. One likely culprit may be Methoprene, a synthetic insect growth hormone (IGH) that is used commercially to control insect pests such as mosquitoes and flies. Once sprayed into a wetland area, Methoprene impairs the ability of certain insects to reproduce. Synthetic insect growth hormones work by disrupting the hypothalamus in the brain. The hypothalamus has many receptors to monitor levels in the blood-so the brain can signal the hormone-producing glands when adjustments are needed. IGH has the ability to mimic the body's natural hormones and can be sent by the hypothalamus to do a job. The IGH is inert and disrupts the body's natural activity. It is kind of like sending a mannequin instead of a computer technician to install your new P.C. 
Another tricky thing about IGHs is their ability to duplicate certain other natural chemicals inside an organism's body. In a tadpole, vitamin A ( a retinoid) is transformed into all-trans retinoic acid and 9-cis retinoic acid. Once inside a cell, all-trans RA binds to a specific receptor called RAR and 9-cis RA binds to another receptor called RXR. The bound RAR and RXR then join together to form a "heterodimer: complex that can bind to DNA and turn genes on or off. IGH can bind to RXR as if it were a retinoid. The theory is that this can substitute for the 9-cis RA and form a heterodimer with RAR. Furthermore, it is hypothesized that this can affect where, or the way that complex attaches to the DNA. The DNA tells the animal's genes what to do. If the DNA is not functioning normally, the genes follow suit. 
Another theory that links IGH to retinoic acid disruption is also being researched. Genes control the developmental activity of a growing organism. The gene that is in charge of limb growth is located in the Zone of Polarizing Activity (ZAP). The gene gets a message to secrete a morphogen to cells. The cells nearest the ZAP get the highest concentrations, the cells farthest away get the least. The morphogen provides essential chemicals, such as natural retinoic acid, which make tissues begin to form. If high concentrations of an RA mimicker are already present, the genes can overcompensate by releasing extra morphagen carrying cells in an attempt to balance out what the body thinks is already growing. Often times this starts limb development in the 'wrong' areas. 
Researchers at the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency have tested these theories with promising results.3 The tests involved spraying high concentrations of Methoprene on test ponds stocked with leopard frog larvae (Rana pipiens). The results yielded significant increases in supernumerary limb development and mortality in ponds that had been sprayed. The experiment yielded typically recorded examples of retinoic acid mutation, such as the signature 'triangular' back limb. Other common malformations that have appeared in Minnesota such as missing eyes, front limb abnormalities, and retained tails did not occur in the Methoprene tests. 
Dr. Sessions has continued his research on the tremetode hypotheses most recently at The
Department of Biology Hartwick College in Oneonta, N.Y. In this recent study the Biology Department has focused on two primary hypothesis; Chemical versus parasite or both. 
In June of 1999, I had the oppourtunity to visit Dr. Sessions at his Hartwick Lab. His challenge to the M.P.C.A.'s Metheprene research is to the high concentration of the chemical used in the test ponds. As under normal pesticide application, the concentrations of Metheprene in thew water would be far less. As far as missing eyes and limbs, Dr. Sessions says that he has observed cannibalistic activity in Rana catesbeiana larvae that could cause these malformations. Repeating his research by continued surgical implantation of inert beads into laboratory grown Pacific Tree frog tadpoles (Hyla regilla), Dr. Sessions restates his position that parasitic activity may be causing the majority of the supernumerary limbs. 
In his recent laboratory studies he now looking into the possibility that tremetodes may produce chemicals that could disrupt normal cellular activity. This hypothesis embodies an idea called intercalation. In theory, cells have predetermined positional information, another words they know via natural chemicals where they are supposed to go in relation to neighboring cells. A tremetode enters, forms a cyst, disrupts normal limb growth, and creates a mechanical response. In the process the cells are rearranged. According to the intercalation theory, the cells should return to a predetermined relationship to one-another. Instead the cells are arranging themselves without regard to how they are supposed to look. Could the tiny parasites be releasing a natural retinoic acid or other substrance, confusing the frog's cells? 
Dr. Paul Pietsch of the of the Department of Medical Sciences at Indiana University recently sent me a paper called 'Effects of Retinoic Acid on the Muscle Patterns Produced during Forelimb Regeneration in Larval Salamanders (Ambystoma).' In the experiments Dr. Pietsch treated Ambystoma opacum and Ambystoma punctatum larvae that had undergone forelimb amputation with systematic applications of retinoic acid(RA). The results showed an increased level of abnormal regeneration in specimens treated with RA compared to specimens not exposed to RA. 
RA is known to induce limb reduplication, in the tested subjects muscle structures reformed
perfectly, yet of opposite bilaterial symmetry. While bone and cartilage regrew with gross anatomical abnormalities. Another words the RA had different or independant affects on the muscle tissue versus the cartilage tissue. In some instances the RA treated limb had both muscle and cartilage opposite bilaterial symmetry---two mirrored arms from one shoulder. This may explain the 'mirror' duplication limbs found in some wild caught mal. amps. This experiments also demonstrates a potential within amphibian tissue for malformation during regeneration or development. So if tremetodes or pollutants are creating RA, a RA inducer, or mimicker it would feasible to project increased levels of malformed amphibian populations.
(Next page)  

Brandon Ballengée
"Malformed Amphibian Project"
Hyla regilla/ Pacific treefrog (supernumeracy-eight hind limbs, partial hind limbs) July 1987 Northern California pond
12" x 12"
pulverized charcoal and coffee
  on artist's recycled paper
$ 250 .00
Next image by BB
Contact (e-mail):


Brandon Ballengée
"Malformed Amphibians"
12" x 8"
pulverized charcoal and coffee
  on artist's recycled paper
$ 250 .00
Next image by BB
Contact (e-mail): obsoletestudios@hotmail.com(Text for Brandon Ballengée's pages is by the artist)Ultra-violet radiation caused by ozone-thinning has been a focus of the research being performed at Oregon State University.7 Experimenting with salamander spawn, researchers exposed some eggs to normal sunlight while others were shielded. Some of the exposed spawn did not hatch and a large number of those that did were malformed, while the shielded eggs exhibited a decreased level of mortality and no abnormalities. 
A similar experiment conducted by the Department of EPO Biology from the University of Colorado suggested sensitivity to UVB may be a species-specific phenomenon. The tests were done in the Cascade Range of the Northwestern US and involved testing multiple species from a wide  range of development stages to ultraviolet rays. The specimens were grouped together according to species as well as age; Some were exposed to direct sunlight while others to varied levels of filtered light. The extensive study resulted in a wide variety of results. The results show that only developing eggs are susceptible to UVB damage. Some species show no significant increases in malformation when exposed to direct sunlight, while other species under the same light exhibited large percentages of both mortality and abnormality. 
Research teams in Canada and Austria are attempting to prove a relationship between UV-radiation and increased amphibian mortality. The premise is that damage occurs in the DNA of certain species of amphibian embryos while still inside the egg. Furthermore, high levels of photolyase, an enzyme which repairs DNA after damage from UVBs, have been found in species that are not suffering from decline versus minute levels in species that are near extinction. (Next page)  


Brandon Ballengée
 
"Malformed Amphibian Project"
Ambystoma macrodactylum larva/ Long-toed salamander (supernumeric hind limb) 
1987 Northern California
8" x 12"
pulverized charcoal and coffee
  on artist's recycled paper
$ 250 .00
Next image by BBContact (e-mail): obsoletestudios@hotmail.com(Text for Brandon Ballengée's pages is by the artist)Unmonitored use of potentially hazardous fertilizers may be another culprit. A recent article from The Amicus Journal produced by the National Resources Defense Council focuses on the growing trend among manufacturing industry to sell or dispose of hazardous wastes by turning it into fertilizer to spread around farmlands.8 The United States, unlike other industrialized countries has no national regulations on fertilizer. The waste sold under loosely restricted EPA guide-lines is sold as a raw material as a base for fertilizer. Among the materials found in some recycled fertilizers are cadmium, lead, arsenic, radionuclides, and dioxins, at levels some scientists say may pose a threat to animal and human health. 
A study done by the Department of Biological Sciences at De Montfort University, in the U.K. shows a link between lengthened gestation periods in Rana temporaria exposed to nitrogenous fertilizers.3 Extensive sampling of amphibian breeding ponds in Leicestershire, UK show that elevated nitrate concentrations coincide with the spawning and development of tadpoles of the common frog, Rana temporaria. In laboratory experiments varied concentrations of nitrogenous fertilizers were introduced to the water of developing frogs. The results show a direct link between nitrogen compounds and heightened metamorphosis. With a graded scale showing higher mortality and malformations to increased levels of nitrogen! 
Low level radioactive waste is another potental cause. Radiation is a known mutagen, the waste created by commercial nuclear reactors is strictly monitored by the EPA and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The regulation of nuclear fuel production, such as uranium mining, is also supposed to be a highly regulated activity. It seems strange then that in Gore, Oklahoma mutated frogs and cattle began to show up after 9,000 acres of farmland had been sprayed with a fertilizer containing this hazardous byproduct. Apparently an uranium- processing plant is getting rid of it's low level radioactive waste by licensing it as a "liquid fertilizer". Also suspected of contributing to an increased level of birth-defects in the area, a formal investigation is currently being conducted into the company's operations. 
In 1992-93 an investigation into populations of Rana arvalis in a radiation polluted area of the Eastern Ural Mountains showed increased levels of mutation10. The Russion team found a higher ratio to females to males, large metamorphs, and overall small adult body sizes. Fertility was reduced and eggs tended to be smaller smaller than normal. Increased embryo mortality, and changes to the liver and spleen were noted. (Next page)
 
 
 
 
 
Brandon Ballengée
 
"Malformed Amphibian Project"
Ambystoma macrodactylum larva/ Long-toed salamander (supernumeric hind limb) 
1987 Northern California
8" x 12"
pulverized charcoal and coffee
  on artist's recycled paper
$ 250 .00
Next image by BBContact (e-mail): obsoletestudios@hotmail.com(Text for Brandon Ballengée's pages is by the artist)

Unmonitored use of potentially hazardous fertilizers may be another culprit. A recent article from The Amicus Journal produced by the National Resources Defense Council focuses on the growing trend among manufacturing industry to sell or dispose of hazardous wastes by turning it into fertilizer to spread around farmlands.8 The United States, unlike other industrialized countries has no national regulations on fertilizer. The waste sold under loosely restricted EPA guide-lines is sold as a raw material as a base for fertilizer. Among the materials found in some recycled fertilizers are cadmium, lead, arsenic, radionuclides, and dioxins, at levels some scientists say may pose a threat to animal and human health. 
A study done by the Department of Biological Sciences at De Montfort University, in the U.K. shows a link between lengthened gestation periods in Rana temporaria exposed to nitrogenous fertilizers.3 Extensive sampling of amphibian breeding ponds in Leicestershire, UK show that elevated nitrate concentrations coincide with the spawning and development of tadpoles of the common frog, Rana temporaria. In laboratory experiments varied concentrations of nitrogenous fertilizers were introduced to the water of developing frogs. The results show a direct link between nitrogen compounds and heightened metamorphosis. With a graded scale showing higher mortality and malformations to increased levels of nitrogen! 
Low level radioactive waste is another potental cause. Radiation is a known mutagen, the waste created by commercial nuclear reactors is strictly monitored by the EPA and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The regulation of nuclear fuel production, such as uranium mining, is also supposed to be a highly regulated activity. It seems strange then that in Gore, Oklahoma mutated frogs and cattle began to show up after 9,000 acres of farmland had been sprayed with a fertilizer containing this hazardous byproduct. Apparently an uranium- processing plant is getting rid of it's low level radioactive waste by licensing it as a "liquid fertilizer". Also suspected of contributing to an increased level of birth-defects in the area, a formal investigation is currently being conducted into the company's operations. 
In 1992-93 an investigation into populations of Rana arvalis in a radiation polluted area of the Eastern Ural Mountains showed increased levels of mutation10. The Russion team found a higher ratio to females to males, large metamorphs, and overall small adult body sizes. Fertility was reduced and eggs tended to be smaller smaller than normal. Increased embryo mortality, and changes to the liver and spleen were noted. (Next page)


Brandon Ballengée
"The Atomic Frog Series: 
AF # 3-24"
69" x 212"
Graphite drawings
$  700.00 (framed)
$  625.00 (unframed)
Next image by BBContact (e-mail): obsoletestudios@hotmail.com(Text for Brandon Ballengée's pages is by the artist)A newly discovered fungus, of the chytrid family, is suspected of killing off large quantities of already threatened species throughout the globe.8 This type of fungus was known previously to only be found on decaying matter and insects. What is being called a "mutated" strand of chytrid fungus appears to be attacking the soft mucous skin of the frogs. Amphibians rely heavily on oxygen obtained through their skin. The fungus seems to be suffocating the frogs by growing until it covers the animal completely. The fungi has been found on dead specimens throughout rain forests in Central and South America, in zoos in the United Kingdom, and most recently in a nature preserve in Australia. Scientists don't know how the fungus has been able to travel to such a wide range of areas. 
Researchers at the National Academy of Science conducted a test proving the dangerous ramifications of the fungal epidemic. The experiment involved researchers scraping fungi contaminated skin off of dead frogs and using it to infect the water of healthy frogs. After a few weeks the exposed frogs were dead or dying. Though the test proved the fungi to be a fatal agent in the demise of the observed frogs, a pure chytrid sample has yet to be isolated and used for testing. Researchers also do not believe this fungus is linked to the malformed amphibian problem. 
In the spring of 1998, I had the opportunity to interview field biologist Elizabeth Dominque of the U.S. Geological Survey Biological Research Division. Ms. Dominique is part of a team of field researchers doing a five year population study on salamanders native to the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. The park is one of the largest preserves of North American amphibians in the country. She spoke of difficulties the team was having raising federal money to continue the project. Being an artist that has received more than a few rejection letters from federally offered grants, I know how she felt. We discussed current research being done around the world and the different theories currently being researched. She suggested that, in her opinion, and in the growing opinion of many of her colleagues, we may be seeing more than one large scale problem! There maybe no single answer to these alarming statistics. Instead, we may be witnessing many environmental warnings occurring all at once. 
Since this project began I solicited the materials of researchers around the world. I would like to thank the scientists whom have taken the time to correspond with me and allowed me to draw from their photographs. A special thank you to Dr. Stanley Sessions and his lab assistants for allowing me to document specimens and answering my many questions. A special thank you to Mr. Pete Warny for taking me along on field surveys. 
by Brandon Ballengée 1999 
If you have any questions, comments, or any information about malformed amphibians, please contact Brandon at obsoletestudios@hotmail.com
(Return to Brandon's beginning page)
 
 
 
 
 

 

 
 

 


http://www.dumboartscenter.org/gallery/bigskyimages/ballengee.html



 
 
d.u.m.b.o. arts center (dac) gallery
Big Sky Small World
 
Brandon Ballengée
Cryptic Aquacultures: Species Diversity Under the Manhattan Bridge (detail)
2001, mixed media, dimensions variable
 
 
 
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  d.u.m.b.o. art under the bridge festival l slide registry l gallery l about (dac) l auction
(dac) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.
© 2001 dumbo arts center (dac)

 

d.u.m.b.o. arts center (dac) gallery
current exhibitionBig Sky Small World http://www.dumboartscenter.org/gallery/bigsky.html

Curated by Elizabeth Finch
April 21 - June 10, 2001
featuring
Brandon Ballengée
Michael Bernstein
Jan Estep
Cory Goings
Jonathan Liss
Rachel Schuder
David Schulz
Michael Tong
Susan Turcot
Mimi Young

 
 
d.u.m.b.o. art under the bridge festival l slide registry l gallery l about (dac) l auction
(dac) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.
© 2001 dumbo arts center (dac)
 






 
 
d.u.m.b.o. arts center (dac) gallery
30 Washington Street
Brooklyn, NY
gallery hours Thursday - Monday 12 - 6
 
(dac) maintains a 3,000 sq. ft. gallery space at 30 Washington Street, in the center of D.U.M.B.O., dedicated to group exhibitions of fine arts. At the gallery, (dac) brings together established curators with local artists. Past shows have included, Section 33 with Charlotta Kotik of the Brooklyn Museum of Art and Un Ltd. and Bridges with Waqas Wajahat of Knoedler & company.
 
 
current exhibition
  The Rebellion of Space
Curated by Waqas Wajahat
October 19 - November 18, 2001
Opening October 19, 6 - 8 pm
featuring
Jaishri Abichandri, Conor Foy, Jae Gabel, Alexandra Handal, Kysa Johnson, Eric Kidhardt, Sofie Jeehyun Kim, San Keum Koh
This event is made possible with public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts. In Kings County the Decentralization Program is administered by the Brooklyn Arts Council, Inc. (BAC). This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs. Sponsored by The Milton & Sally Avery Arts Foundation.
 past exhibitions
  pete & repeat . . .
Curated by Kathleen Forde
June 23 - August 19, 2001
featuring
David Abir, Leesa & Nicole Abahuni (a.k.a. Turbo Twins), Stephen Cartwright, Jennifer DeNike, Jeff Karolski, Les Leveque, Tristin Lowe, Graham Parker, Andrea Ray
This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of cultural Affairs. This exhibition is made possible with public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts. In Kings County the decentralization program is admistered by the Brooklyn Arts Council "BAC".
 
Big Sky Small World
Curated by Elizabeth Finch, curator at the Drawing Center
April 21 - June 10, 2001
featuring
Brandon Ballengée, Michael Bernstein, Jan Estep, Jonathan Liss, Rachel Schuder, Michael Tong, Susan Turcot, Mimi Young
This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of cultural Affairs
 
Random Access Memory
Curated by Silvia Rocciolo
February 17 - April 8, 2001
opening reception: Saturday, February 17th, 6-9 pm
featuring
Fernanda Brunet Rocha, Janice Caswell, David Cohen, Radek Grosman, Michael Joseph, Pavel Kraus, Rossana Martinez, Valerie Merians, Tom Moran, Luisa Rabbia, Takayo Seto, Carol Warner, John Wells
This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of cultural Affairs
 
 
 
d.u.m.b.o. art under the bridge festival l slide registry l gallery l about (dac) l auction
(dac) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.
© 2001 dumbo arts center (dac)
 

 

 

 

http://www.asci.org/ArtSci2001/ballengee1.html

INVITED PRESENTERS
ArtSci 2001, Nov. 2-4, 2001
 

 

Brandon Ballengée
(artist)
Dr. Peter Warny
(herpetologist) Art as Science Field Research
As an artist involved in wildlife preservation, decreasing global bio-diversity is a concern and a focus. My interest in biology/ecology began at an early age growing up in a rural setting. By chance, I received a better scholarship to study visual art than I did to study biology. My fascination with the living organisms were not forgotten along with my study of art, but instead, became my art. Shortly after college, I began corresponding with biologists and eventual conversations evolved into scientific participation.
I contacted Peter Warny based on a referral from another scientist. Immediately we clicked. Our mutual fondness of field observation has led to dozens of amphibian population surveys in the New England area. Along with these surveys we have collected and documented numerous deformed frogs. Warny has said that my attention to amphibian anatomy has made him notice details he had not noticed before.
A recent project we are working on follows the theories of Dr. Stanley Sessions. It involves the investigation of parasitic trematodes and the effect they have on limb development in certain treefrogs. The information we gather from our collaborative scientific activities is transformed into environmental art -- usually exhibited in an installation format -- is intended to help inform viewers about contemporary ecological issues. Several of these collaborative art-sci installations have been exhibited at: the Queens Art Museum, Cornell Medical Center, The Gateway National
Recreational Area, Exit Art, and The Consulate for the Republic of Hungary, New York City.
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Brandon Ballengée- 
Brandon Ballengée was born on April 18th, 1974 in Sandusky, Ohio. Influenced by his father, a physician, Ballengée's interest in science and particularly zoology began at an early age. By the age of 16 he had received several state and a national educational science awards for his experiments with fish growth and reproduction. Along with his fascination for biology he had developed a passion for visual arts and a particular attraction to the history of the visual language. In 1992 Ballengée was awarded a merit based scholarship to attend The Maryland Institute College of Art. His interest in art history led him to continue his education at The Art Academy of Cincinnati. He later attended The New York Studio Program. This spring he was awarded the E-STAR Residency at The Institute for Electronic Arts at Alfred University, supported by the Rockefeller Foundation.
In 1996 Ballengée began collaborating with scientists to create hybrid environmental art/ ecological research projects. Ballengée's approach towards nature was influenced by earlier Earth/Eco artists such as Betty Beughmont, Agnes Denes and the Harrisons and inspired by the political philosophies of Thomas Cole and the Hudson River School. A current project instigated by Ballengée involves working with The Gaia Institute and The New York State Museum to populate newly created waste water management sites throughout New York City with native amphibians. Theamphibians will not only control mosquito populations but will act as environmental flags to help monitor the health of the wetland. All aspects of the project are being documented and will be exhibited in installation format and as a website in the future.
Ballengée's projects have been included in numerous exhibitions both in New York and internationally. This fall his work will be exhibited at The Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing, The Peoples Republic of China. His projects have been included in articles appearing in several publications and broadcast media stories including; ABC News ONLINE, ABC's World News Tonight, Art Papers, Die Tageszeitung, GENEWATCH, The Journal of The New York Herpetological Society, The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Sciences and others. Over the past five years, he has lectured at many Universities and public spaces including; The Cooper Union, The University of Massachusetts Amherst and The Consulate of the Republic of Hungary. In January of 2002 he will be co-teaching (with developmental biologist Dr. Stanley Session) an ecology art and neotropical evolution course at the Monte Verde Scientific Field Station in Costa Rica.
EMAIL: obsoletestudios@hotmail.com
URL: www.disk-o.com/malamp
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