Mateusz Herczka

Laboratory to ascertain plausibility of Jim’s basement floor anecdote

This work is a reflection on species’ survival strategies and the way life forms cope with environmental stress, approaching these issues through the symbolic analysis of the behavior of a species of small fish commonly known as killifish. This small and insignificant fish belonging to the Rivulus punctatus family inhabits humid areas of the Southern United States, Cuba, etc. but has been introduced by man into extensive areas of Central and South America, the Iberian Peninsula, and Australia, due to its ostensible capacity to destroy the eggs and larvae of the mosquito which carries malaria.

The killifish jumps from puddle to puddle to survive. When water disappears, this famous devourer of mosquito larvae dies, but its eggs survive until the next rainfall. One of this small creature’s most famous survival methods is the jump which it constantly executes from one puddle to the next in its search for the main fountain of all life: water.

There is an extensive human network associated with the killifish and looking out for its survival, which is under threat.

Associations of those concerned about the killifish study its different habitats and behaviors and carry out the task of classifying the animal’s endless variations in form and color. These individuals, a kind of “bio-hackers,” dedicate much of their free time to studying and protecting killifish, exchanging information and specimens at relatively low-key exhibitions and meetings, and even sending eggs by mail!

It is without any doubt an effective social network. By focusing on a species overlooked in the sophisticated world of upscale fishkeeping, they bring to the field a holistic concern which is especially opportune during the times we are now living.

In this work (stemming from a project contracted by the Fundación Ortega Muñoz) the complexity of this fascinating universe of symbiotic responsibility is presented in a symbolic fashion.