BIOLUMINESCENT WATERFALL is a project created for LOCAL ENERGY AND NEW LANDSCAPES, a University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Spring 2016 design workshop taught by David Hays.
BIOLUMINESCENT WATERFALL forms a private, intimate encounter that reshapes our notion of the garden. Harvesting the bioluminescent Photobacterium Phosphoreum from the Department of Microbiology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, this project focuses heavily on the process of dynamic systems, relationships and life cycles. Various experiments were conducted on a nightly basis to culture the bacteria and keep it alive, enabling discovery of opportunities that prioritize an experience-based understanding of the bacteria and its conditions through the flows of energy being triggered. Furthermore, this project engages the notion of renewable energy, exploring how bioluminescence can be used as a source of light that is off the grid as urban environments seek new ways of illumination.
The final outcome was shown at the 2016 Boneyard Arts Festival in Urbana, IL: Participants pouring set amounts of bioluminescent bacteria into a transparent, cubiform cascade, resulting in bacteria binding together to form unexpected patterns in the ensuing pond.