Rebecca Klee & Siouxsie Wiles Living Light
Harnessing the incredible light-making properties of Vibrio fisheri, a kind of bioluminescent bacteria usually found in the sea, this installation makes the invisible visible and brings science and nature into the artistic realm. Watch a time-lapse of the bacteria growing and glowing:
In the laboratory, scientists can manipulate the conditions that encourage the bacteria to light up, but in their natural marine environment, Vibrio fisheri require a little help from some friends. Here the bacteria form a symbiotic relationship with other aquatic creatures. One such creature is Euprymna scolopes, the Hawaiian bobtail squid, which hosts the bacteria in a special light organ on the underside of its mantle. It’s a perfectly balanced relationship, which fulfils the needs of each partner. The squid provides nutrition and a safe place for the bacteria to multiply. In turn, the bacteria produce light, which the squid uses to camouflage its silhouette from potential predators.
Currently working in online media, Rebecca Klee draws on an eclectic array of qualifications in medical genetics from Victoria University and surface design from Massey University to collaborate with Siouxsie on this unique project.
Rebecca is particularly interested in the possibility of inspiration and interaction between disparate disciplines, such as science and art.
Dr Siouxsie Wiles is a microbiologist and bioluminescence enthusiast who heads the Bioluminescent Superbugs Lab at the University of Auckland.
Siouxsie and her team make nasty bacteria glow in the dark to better understand and combat infectious diseases, which kill a staggering 14 million people worldwide each year.