Does the glow of cell phones come from the captured bioluminescence of fireflies? This was a waking dream I had a few months ago. I was gazing out of a hotel room window in Washington, D.C. watching government workers shuffle along mesmerized by their phones and wondering what it would take to get them to look up. Fast forward a few months and a version of this vision has become a new mural in Iowa City.
Situated in a well-trafficked alley across from a nightclub in the heart of downtown, the mural’s main audience includes delivery drivers, maintenance workers, alley cats, and clubbers. One side features a curious raccoon cautiously trying to grasp a firefly while humans remain oblivious to the magic of the night. The mural continues around the corner where a woman (mi amor Connie) captivated by an awe inspiring natural phenomenon drops her phone into the jaws of copperhead snake. The snakebite triggers a release of bioluminescence that makes its way up to a spiral galaxy becoming new stars. Well, at least that’s my interpretation. What do you see?