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Hanging by a Thread - Tamar Assaf 9880PS

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Hanging by a Thread: Artist Scientist Collaboration
Hanging by a Thread - Tamar Assaf

Tamar Assaf’s sculpture installation

inspired by Dr. Anna Sturrock’s

Salmon research:


Translucent ‘otolith slides’

hovering over ghost salmon

Manmade structures built to capture and reallocate water can transform natural, diverse systems into constant, simplified bodies of water, denying salmon the natural conditions necessary to grow and thrive, and impeding their ability to evolve and persist in a changing climate.


By measuring the growth rings on otoliths (fish earstones) and analyzing their chemical composition across life stages, Dr. Anna Sturrock tracks salmon movement patterns and growth rates, and identifies the aquatic conditions experienced ­­­during their freshwater residence. 


By reconstructing this information in juveniles and in the limited number of survivors returning to spawn, she attempts to track the conditions and behaviors that allowed the fish to complete their natural life cycle despite the many obstacles.

Dr. Anna Sturrock
Tamar Assaf Hanging Otoliths

Hanging by a Thread - Translucent ‘otolith slides’ hovering over ghost salmon -

is inspired by Dr. Sturrock's Salmon research:


The fishing rods reference traditional, simpler way of life and fishing methods. Bamboo was chosen to represent a renewable resource. The fish are metal outlines of faint ghost Salmon hovering at the end of their ropes. The rusty steel, like the survivors coming back to spawn, their bodies disintegrate as they care for the next generation.


The light and airy installation allows only limited movement of the endangered salmon which, like in the Bay-Delta system, are hanging by a thread.

To watch the video click here

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