organic unidirectional time machine // writer + artist // aka oculardelusion // karenfranceseng.com

I get this question a lot. Here’s my crack at a nutshell answer.

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Emergence (2020) by @oculardelusion // NFT available in edition of 3 on KnownOrigin


Passionate entomologist Marcel Dicke reveals the multitude of reasons to appreciate insects you’ve likely never considered—but should.

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Balthasar van der Ast (1593–1637) Fruit Still Life with Shells. Wikimedia Commons

Wageningen University professor of entomology Marcel Dicke has devoted his life to bugs. Not only does he work to popularize insects in the mainstream—offering lectures and festivals on the many wonders of bugs, including hosting a world record–breaking insect-eating event. He also tirelessly investigates ways insects can contribute to the good of humanity, whether by considering insects as an environmentally sustainable food source or as a subject long celebrated in the history of art.

Dicke’s own breakthrough research showed that plants under attack by insects can send out a chemical SOS signal to attract their attackers’ predators. This paradigm-shifting discovery…


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GANOODLE [Async Edition] / 2021

Manchester-based cryptoartist Stina Jones’s popular GANOODLES creatures are making the evolutionary leap to Async’s programmable-art platform.

One of the most immediately recognizable, accessible and popular artists in the cryptoart scene, Stina Jones’s vivid colors and clean lines instantly catch the eye. But stay with her artwork a moment longer and you’ll also sense something deeper: a thoughtfulness and—sometimes—a melancholy. The adorable, expressive characters she’s most famous for evoke a host of poignant emotions: tenderness, joy, sadness, bewilderment.

Now the Manchester-based artist’s famous hand-drawn, GAN-morphed characters GANOODLES have made an evolutionary leap onto the innovative Async platform. …


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TODAY: 12 noon Pacific, 3pm Eastern, 8pm UK

Hosted by cryptoart platform KnownOrigin, cryptoartists and collectors from all over the world are showing support of today’s March on Washington with our own March in the Metaverse. Taking place in Cryptovoxels — a Minecraft-like virtual world on the Ethereum blockchain occupied entirely by artists’ spaces — the march will start at a virtual gallery dedicated to The Advocate, documentary filmmaker Jon Lowenstein’s feature film focused on the life of young Black community activist Jedidiah Brown. UK-based cryptoart platform KnownOrigin is supporting Jon’s work to augment his current GoFundMe campaign to complete…


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Image: Karin Eklund (2020)

Why would an American choose lockdown life under martial law in Morocco? A conversation with Iranian-American global health physician Nassim Assefi on different cultural approaches to COVID responses, coping as a single mother in quarantine, and navigating the precarious line between safety and sanity.

When the pandemic hit, Iranian-American physician and global health expert Dr Nassim Assefi actively chose to stay put in Rabat with her 8-year-old daughter rather than return home to Seattle, despite Morocco’s strictly enforced lockdown measures. The country’s major cities have seen the longest and strictest quarantines in the world: starting on March 16 and ending just a few days ago, on July 11.

As a self-described global nomad, Nassim has been to more than 60 countries, including to Iran for public health research, to Afghanistan to reduce maternal and infant mortality, and most recently to Rabat — where she…


A shaggy-dog story of a virtual art collaboration in the Metaverse.

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The original Pink Dress, in Tilt Brush. Björk-worthy? I hope so.

Some folks are feeling too isolated during lockdown. I’m not feeling isolated enough. I typically work from home in blissful solitude in a forgotten Norfolk town. When COVID-19 hit, all my friends rushed online at once — on the one hand delightful, but on the other, overwhelming for an introvert who counts on 12 hours of alone time a day. So I took shelter from the storm in VR, making myself immersive worlds in Google’s 3D painting app Tilt Brush, using an Oculus Quest headset.

The pieces I created were all about comfort. I made an underwater rock garden with…


Global health expert and TED Talk speaker Alanna Shaikh thinks there’s light at the end of the tunnel

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A testing tent at St. Barnabas Hospital on March 20, 2020 in New York City. Photo: Misha Friedman/Getty Images

As humanity steps into the reality of life with Covid-19, we’re all searching for calm, expert voices to guide us in making sensible decisions for ourselves, our families, and our society. Global health expert Alanna Shaikh — who studies what happens to health systems when diseases move at scale — is one such voice.

On March 6, Shaikh flew from her home in Sri Lanka to Dallas to speak at TEDxSMU about Covid-19. She offered a realistic yet somehow reassuring big-picture perspective that has already garnered more than 5 million views. …


Shortly after filmmaker Agnès Varda died, I went to Paris to learn from her life — and take a piece of it home with me

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Agnès Varda’s grave in Montparnasse Cemetery, where she is buried with her husband, Jacques Demy. Photos: Karen Frances Eng

We would see the gleaner, tramping along
gathering the relics
of that which is falling behind the reaper.
— Joachim du Bellay (from The Gleaners and I by Agnes Varda)

I went to Paris almost exactly a month after Agnès Varda died, wanting to pay my respects. I’m not sure why I felt compelled to visit the home of the pioneering feminist filmmaker and artist. We’d never met, though I’d have liked that. I haven’t seen all, or even most, of her work. …


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The southern margin of the glacier Breiðamerkurjökull. Photo: Joe Tighe

Bridging scientific knowledge and human narrative, The Secret Lives of Glaciers offers a new way to think about not only glaciers, but about how to navigate rapid environmental change.

Glaciologist and geographer M Jackson has spent nearly a decade among the people of the south coast of Iceland, gathering stories of the glaciers they’ve lived among for generations. Just released in her new book The Secret Lives of Glaciers, the stories examine the often surprising ways social structures are being affected by climate-caused changes in ice and offer a new perspective on how humanity might talk about — and tackle — the effects of climate change. Here, we ask Jackson to tell us more.

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