The main actors in Stephen’s narrative are the wasp and orchid. They fuse together, the Milky Way and Andromeda galaxies collide, and so art gives form and shape to humanity’s more abstract dialogues and concepts. “Turtles All The Way Down” is a visual inquiry into the trench between the humanities and the sciences: Graham Harman’s Third Table—not the hard, physical table your computer sits on, or the indeterminate void of entangled particles of the scientific table, but something in between. Stephen formats scientific information and allegory as poetry, alluding to the sentient quality of the earth, and parallels the belief in unseen science with romantic myth; both are based in theory, they often disagree, but are always true to the possessor.
In emergence and complexity theory, intensive properties form gradients from which moving parts of larger wholes can arise. Our own bodies are host to a myriad of biological entities. Which of these are foreign and which have come home to roost? Are our actions governed to some degree by the parasitic microbes living in our spinal cords? Does culture feed on culture? Are human beings nothing but parasites feeding off the crust of the earth? Where does the bacteria end and the self begin?