Bio-Moon Lab is growing different living organisms, such as bacteria, by transforming and processing their growth into 'bio-light'.
Laura Benetton's research enquires about future perspectives in the field of bioluminescence as a potential and conscious application within contemporary art practice. The project explores alternative sources of sustainable energy to replace artificial forms of light in the context of contemporary art.
Light is conceptualised as a creative interface, where speculative experimentations are endorsed to creatively manipulate living organisms such as the aliivibrio fischeri bacteria to establish a new bridge of communication between contemporary art and science. Benetton's research aims to explore and expand new innovative dialogues in the field of bioart. Alongside promote the value of interdisciplinary interventions as a vehicle to communicate the science of living lights with the public, through new creative approaches in the field of science and contemporary art practice.
The focus of this research explores the phenomenon of bioluminescence, defined as a chemically inspired phenomenon originating from organisms living in a near-total state of darkness and representing one of the most fundamental aspects of the visual environment in the oceans. Blue luminescence is correlated to different factors other than pigment, it is primarily due to the structure of the molecules and the way they reflect light.
Benetton's project is inspired by research from Dr Michael Latz. Founder of the Latz Laboratory for the study of the bioluminescence at the Institute of Oceanography in Boston and artist Hunter Cole. Her research is guided by the main hypothesis that the study of bioluminescent aliivibrio fischeri bacteria, could advance interesting and innovative perspectives in the field of contemporary art and bio-light powered by living organisms. Could living organisms be integrated into contemporary art practice to generate innovative and sustainable bio-light installations? Could artists contribute to the expansion of knowledge with respect to the luminous phenomenon?
During the process, a small amount of the bacteria was extracted from the capsule which was preserved at the temperature of -80° and placed on a petri dish. Based on the monitoring and measurement of the light emission of the bacteria on a 72 hours time-lapse documentation she designed a series of bio artworks and installations where light is the new terminal. The design was Informed by the pattern of the butterfly wings from the Morpho species. She reframed the existing structure inside the artwork to capture the magical natural phenomenon.
Aiming further she progressed in the design of a bio-light tube system that could be integrated inside the work of art to replace the traditional artificial light. By culturing the bacteria in the LBS media solution at room temperature of 26-28°she gradually monitored the expansion of growth during the day and measured the light intensity through the appropriate equipment. Detecting the peak of light emitted from the bacteria overnight, allowed her to understand how to build a system that could be self-sustainable and efficient. By using a small Chi-Bio bioreactor, programmed on the computer and connected to the glass tube where the bacteria was contained, she created a self-regulating system of bio-light that keeps generating new light and is fully sustainable.
Information submitted by the maker and edited by the Future Materials Bank.
aliivibrio fischeri bacteria, calcium sulphate, sodium chloride, calcium chloride, magnesium sulphate.
Tutor: Shem Johnson, Paula Corsini