Nudibranch Series

Vulvaris marjorieii

The recent discovery of Vulvaris marjorieii was quite a shock to the marine biology community, as it appears this highly toxic species has been hiding in plain sight all along.

Unlike all other nudibranches Vulvaris marjorieii is not hermaphroditic, but unlike other nudibranches the male nudibranch tears it’s withered genitalia off after insemination, and presents them as a food gift to the female. It may be that this is an act of self-defence, as the female of species Vulvaris marjorieii is known to eat it’s offspring, so possibly this act of simpering capitulation is a life saver for the male. However, the male nudibranch has also been observed slavishly feeding their offspring to the female, so possibly it’s just a cannibalistic species.

Vulvaris marjorieii is a mistress of disguise, falsely presenting itself as palatable to other species and other nudibranches, whilst all the while secreting an extremely noxious toxin. The toxin calms it’s victims into a sensation of safety, so much so that the female Vulvaris marjorieii can often be seen surrounded by a larder of willing victims who have been lulled and gulled into her proximity.

The toxin secreted by Vulvaris marjorieii is dangerously venomous to humans. Do not be tempted to lick this nudibranch, no matter how appetising it may look! Short term exposure to it is likely to result in feelings of superiority, grandiosity, and even delusion, but long term exposure will just leave you weak and incapacitated, a victim of hubris.

If you need to lick something poisonous, you’d be better off slurping on a cane toad than this malignant marine mollusc.



QR code, silver

This is a piece I made a few years ago. It was for a mapping project, and whilst I was very happy with the way my QR code worked so well, ultimately the project failed, because so few people knew what a QR code was, let alone had the means to read it with their smartphones.

It was a fraught piece to make, because I had no idea if it would work until it was finished. I was overjoyed when it did. I made it using very simple techniques. I cut out tiny pieces of metal and riveted them to a base of silver. No solder was used. I wanted to make something as low-tech as possible that linked to something very hi-tech; a smartphone app that connected the user to a website page.

The technical person who configured the mapping project is unconvinced that QR codes will work effectively to trace covid-19 contacts. It’s not sufficiently passive to succeed, as action is required at every step; you must download an app before your smartphone can read a code that the business has actively placed in their premises. There will not be QR codes every single place you go. Worst of all, the app doesn’t tell you if there is a connection between you and a person with covid-19. Not yet…

Alternately, contact tracing geo-spacially using the in-built GPS system of your smartphone would be passive, and direct.



Diagram of how contact tracing could work using GPS