1999 - 2000   Spiral Worm Drawings

"Spiral Worm Drawings" - These drawings on paper, made with frozen bloodworms, a commercially available frozen tropical fish food. Schwartzberg allowed the worms to defrost on paper and then manipulates them with a brush to create linear spirals, forms and patterns. The dark lines in the drawings are the actual worms which, when dry, adhere to the paper; the red/brown colors are their blood.
The decision to use bloodworms as a medium for drawings relates to Dr. Sydney Brenner’s (one of the founding fathers of molecular biology) use of worms to decipher the human genome. I use them as a metaphor of humanity’s psychological and physical struggle to survive in an ever-changing and frequently hostile environment – bloodworms are one of the few species that have adapted to survive in an environment almost entirely devoid of oxygen. Through the arrangement of the worms into spirals, the drawings also refer to both water and the cosmos, illustrating movement and evolutionary travel.