PSYCHEDELIC PHOTOMICROGRAPHY AND THE SILICON ZOO VICE, 17min (2008)
In this edition of Motherboard we head down to Florida to meet with Michael Davidson. Davidson heads up the Industrial Photomicrography department at the FSU site of the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory, where he takes pictures of teeny tiny living and non-living cells through a high-powered microscope. Oh, what? That sounds boring? Let’s see your brain say that when it’s being bombarded with massive swirling fluorescent fractals churning in and out of each other.
Simply as a result of the slide stains needed for the different parts of the cell to show up through the lens, even the most rudimentary of cellular processes turn into psychedelic visuals the likes of which Joshua White couldn’t come up with on a million hits of acid. Davidson has taken his eye for microscopic aesthetics to the corporate world, photographing the crystalization of a wide variety of beers and pharmaceuticals for use in advertisements, screensavers, and, like all things psychedelic, a line of neck-ties.
Davidson is also the discoverer and curator of the “Silicon Zoo,” a collection of infinitesimal drawings etched directly into the circuitry of mass-manufactured microprocessors by their designers, and running the gamut in shape and style from a 2mm-long Crayola crayon to a Waldo one-third the width of a human hair. It’s like tiny graffiti for nerds (regular nerds, not graffiti nerds).