[ASC-media] unsw media relese - the symbiotic bacterial light project: the art of science fiction

Dan Gaffney dreaming at bigpond.net.au
Thu May 13 16:48:20 EST 2004

the symbiotic bacterial light project: the art of science fiction
13 May 2004


Imagine a future where the light from bacteria is used as an alternative energy source. 


This future is realised in a sculptural installation, Luxcorp, opening this weekend at the Canberra Contemporary Arts Space.


It is the first exhibition of the Symbiotic Bacterial Light Project – an arts/science collaboration between visual artist John Nicholson and UNSW microbiologist Kathy Takayama.


Luxcorp transforms the gallery into a corporation of the future, displaying its prototype product line of domestic furniture. Two central objects provide light within the darkened space: the organism generator (‘deep green.1’), a state-of-the-art technology that sustains a continuous culture of bioluminescent bacteria, and a light-emitting chair (jellyfish lounge).


“We formed the project to propose an entirely novel perspective on the natural process of bioluminescence – the beautiful light given off by bacteria that colonise deep-sea angler fish and squid,” says Takayama, senior lecturer in the School of Biotechnology and Biomolecular Sciences.


Nicholson says: “Humans usually attempt to eradicate bacteria from living spaces but here we ask the audience to bathe in a light produced by bacteria and gauge whether or not this is a product that can be developed.”


“It’s very much tongue-in-cheek,” says Takayama, “but the important element for me was to introduce the beauty of microbiology to a different and broader audience.”


What: The Symbiotic Bacterial Light Project presents its first exhibition Luxcorp 

When: Exhibition opens on Saturday 15 May and runs until 18 June, 2004

Where: Canberra Contemporary Art Space, Gorman House, ACT


Images available at the website www.fusionmedia.net.au/sblp/index.html


Media contacts: Kathy Takayama, tel. 02 9385 1592 k.takayama at unsw.edu.au 

Denise Knight, UNSW Media Office, tel. 02 9385 3192 mob. 0405 207 685


This exhibition is part of arts and science festival, Metis 2004 www.metis.com.au/media_ecard/

Kathy Takayama and John Nicholson have also been invited to speak about their project at a CSIRO Symposium at the National Museum of Australia on Saturday 15 May at 11.25am.
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