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“The Colors of Clear” Exhibit

March 4 – March 8, 2024 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM

ARC, Lower level, F-09

Image of some Crystal structures.

“The Colors of Clear” is a new body of visual art by Rebeca Acosta, which captures beautiful possibilities using polarized light microscopy. Her work makes otherwise unseen light spectrums visible through polarized lenses. These original high-resolution images of microscopic organisms and specimens display properties of colors which can only be detected and differentiated through bi-refringent analysis.

Acosta’s images and videos use collected specimens of sand and water samples from different NYC environs, including construction sites, “The Hole” neighborhood (a low-lying area between Brooklyn and Queens susceptible to regular flooding), Highland Park Reservoir, and Jamaica Bay Reserve. From this diverse selection of local samples, we see microorganisms found in the city, highlighting how bi-refringence is everywhere. Using the Michel-Lévy interference color chart as reference, we can observe the color output of translucent specimens and help gain an understanding of what they are.

“The Colors of Clear” is part of a research project by Rebeca Acosta (lead) which aims to make Optical Microscopy more accessible. The aim of the work is to make the invisible visible, and demystify the process of illumination with this spectrum of colors. In collaboration with Eleanor King (Technical Director of Foundation) and Megan Aebi (Director of Programs, Pratt STEM) the project is supported by Pratt Institute’s Foundations Lab, the STEAMplant Initiative (MSci), and Pratt’s Research Open House.

This exhibit is open to the public.

If you are visiting Pratt and would like to see the exhibition during open hours, please contact