Starfish Shuffle

Xavier Cortada, “Starfish Shuffle: Digital Tapestry,” 4′ x 40′, dye sublimation on fabric, 2014.

Detail Images from left to right.

Stafish Shuffle Starfish Shuffle, a series of eight wall-mounted ceramic murals and a 40-foot digital tapestry, creates an awareness of the vibrant marine life that abounds in the natural environment just offshore from Broward County’s blue wave beaches.

Otherworldly and creeping steadily across the ocean floor, the eccentric starfish looks like it belongs on an alien landscape rather than our own Earth. In reality, starfish have existed for over 600 million years and are relatives of sea urchins, sea cucumbers, and sand dollars. Starfish have no centralized nervous systems; instead each arm is equipped with light-detecting eye spots and hundreds of tube feet which can detect odiferous particles in the water that allows them to independently sense and react to the environment around them. These peculiar creatures have no need for blood either! Seawater courses through their simple circulatory system, not only carrying nutrients but also acting as leverage in an internal hydraulic system that powers their tube feet. When giving it thought, starfish are actually little more than seawater filled moving stomachs with five arms. In most species, such as the red cushion starfish, one of the starfish’s two stomachs can actually be pushed out of the body to envelop and externally digest its prey. This makes eating clams and other shelled animals a cinch as all the starfish has to do is open a crack in the shell and spew its stomach inside its prey to digest the nutritious insides. Other starfish, like the giant basket star, can unfold arms that split into hundreds of feathery branches to gather plankton and other organic particles floating by.

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