Living Light Experiment

Living Light Experiment

29 – 30 May 2024

Science Gallery Melbourne

You are invited to participate in a mysterious new encounter with ancient living light that is part performance, part experiment.

Encounter the ancient light of bioluminescent bacteria A. Fischeri and contemplate how the living colony has evolved this extraordinary light over eons through a symbiotic relationship with the Hawaiian bobtail squid.

This project is a collaboration between bioengineer Matt Faria, biomathematician Stuart Johnston, and artists Robert Walton, Madeleine Flynn and Tim Humphrey. The group are conducting one of the first studies of human perceptions of beauty in bioluminescent light with the aim of developing sustainable lighting sources in collaboration with living systems.

The light A. Fischeri emits impacts the sound composition in the environment you share with the colony during the performance. In turn, the sound vibrations interact with the bacteria, stimulating their light. The delicate balance between sound vibrations, the air we breathe together, and the living colony creates a meditative, immersive experience to contemplate mysteries of light and life, performance and perception.

The colony performs every ten minutes. Individuals and small groups may enter the performance every 10 minutes. We would like to hear about your perception of the qualities of living light through a short survey or an interview about the experience, which may take an additional 15 minutes.

The experience includes moving in a space with very low light and listening to immersive soundscapes.  It takes place on a flat floor and the venue is wheelchair accessible.

This project is funded by The University of Melbourne Bio-Inspiration Seed Fund.

Opening Hours and Booking

A close-up image of a glowing Aliivibrio fischeri bacterium.

An ‘artist impression’ close-up microscope image of an Aliivibrio fischeri bacterium glowing. The image features a single glowing bacterium centered in the frame. Image created with Dalle2.




29-30 May 2024


Science Gallery Melbourne, Grattan Street, Melbourne

Project Team

Robert Walton, Lead Artist
Matt Faria, Bioengineer
Stuart Johnston, Biomathematics
Madeleine Flynn and Tim Humphrey, Sound Design and Composition
Sam Mcgilp, Camera System Design
Luce Nguyen-Hunt, Production Systems

Special Thanks

Paul Lim from ADDITIVE
Arie Glorie, Erin Milne, Sam Karmel, Science Gallery Melbourne

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