The Breath of the Burren

Madison Grosvenor
Senior, Penny W. Stamps School of Art & Design


Stop motion animation


How the Blood Flows depicts the complex process of a heartbeat in a simpler form to educate the audience about the blood flow throughout the heart. In addition, the characters represent the flow of oxygenated and deoxygenated blood and how the lungs play a role in the blood flow. Anatomy is a beautiful and complicated subject that has many connections and roles throughout the history of art and I wanted to visualize a modern educational form of that.

In the Summer of 2022, I studied abroad in Ireland as a part of the Global Ecologies Studio in which I could explore County Clare’s biodiversity as well as my personal art practice. “The Burren” is a karst/glaciokarst landscape centered in County Clare, on the west coast of Ireland. When I arrived I was fascinated by the biodiversity surrounding me. I began to realize how interconnected the landscape was between the rainfall, natural springs, and the sea, as well as how they relate to the karst (the limestone), the fields, and agriculture. I began to sketch and take note of these different elements of the landscape and inhabitants contributing to the
flourishing biodiversity of this area.

My practice involves a lot of exploration in terms of animation and multi-media arts, so I wanted to create a moving image to show the interdependence of the terrain and really enter a sort of “retreat” into the landscape’s ecosystem ourselves. By hand-painting each animated frame, I was fully in tune and studied thoroughly each phenomenon I was representing while attempting to create transitions that flowed effortlessly from one ecological function to another. For example, I animated a connection between the cows’ impact on wildflower biodiversity
through regeneration, especially in Ireland’s large orchid abundance, as well as phenomena like limpets and other producers’ integral roles in the biodiversity and habitat success of rockpools. I also experimented with nature recording in which I collected audio samples from the hazel forests, sounds throughout the tidepools and on the shore, and the sounds of our class’s interaction with the karst itself.

Through the overlaying of imagery and audio on top of each other over and over, I feel that I have recreated my vision and experience of the living, breathing Burren as its own entity, forever changing. I hope that the viewer feels like they can retreat into the meditative ebb and flow of the magical site, known as The Burren.