LIFE

Art installation takes living light to infinity

The 8-foot Infinity Cube surrounds guests in projected and reflected larger-than-life images of bioluminescence accompanied by soundscape. (courtesy of Scripps Institution of Oceanography)

Art installation takes living light to infinity

Birch Aquarium at Scripps has launched the Infinity Cube, a new, immersive installation that explores bioluminescence.

What happens when you combine glowing creatures with world-class science, high tech projection and an original soundscape? Birch Aquarium at Scripps Institution of Oceanography is finding out.

Guests will learn about the phenomenon of bioluminescence, how dinoflagellates produce light and how many light flashes marine species use for camouflage, protection and communication. (courtesy of Scripps Institution of Oceanography)

For three months, London-based artist Iyvone Khoo worked alongside Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego scientist Michael Latz in an effort to better understand the role of bioluminescence — light produced by living organisms — in the marine environment.

They filmed more than six hours of footage of single-celled marine organisms called dinoflagellates reacting to various stimulants, such as the human heartbeat, music, water flow and air pressure. Those videos have become the basis of the Infinity Cube.

The 8-foot cube, funded by Rick and Patty Elkus, surrounds guests in projected and reflected larger-than-life images of bioluminescence accompanied by soundscape.

Additional support for the interpretative component of the exhibit was provided by the National Science Foundation.

“Through this project, I hope to raise public awareness of how we, as a species, relate and communicate with our natural world. There are energy, vibration and songs in everything, one just has to find them, even at a microscopic level,” said Khoo.

Through activities and interpretation accompanying the installation, guests will have opportunities to learn more about the phenomenon of bioluminescence, how dinoflagellates produce light and how many light flashes marine species use for camouflage, protection and communication.

“I am pleased that my successful collaboration with artist Iyvone Khoo has led to this art installation, using art to communicate my science in an aesthetically pleasing way without the jargon and technical details,” said Michael Latz, marine biologist at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego.

Birch Aquarium at Scripps Birch Aquarium at Scripps is the public exploration center for the world-renowned Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego. Perched on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean, the aquarium features more than 60 habitats of fishes and invertebrates from the cold waters of the Pacific Northwest to the tropical waters of Mexico and the western Pacific. An interactive museum showcases research discoveries by Scripps scientists on climate, earth and ocean science, and features interactive elements. Accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, Birch Aquarium has an annual attendance of more than 450,000, including 40,000 school children.

The Infinity Cube will be on display until Dec. 31 and is included in Birch Aquarium admission, which is $18.50 for adults, $14 for children ages 3 to 17. For more information or to purchase tickets visit aquarium.ucsd.edu.

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