Designers Create Illuminating Art Powered by Goebacter-Generated Electricity


urn4vukd6ozwkllrsovfYou know a concept is brilliant when even artists want to use it in their special collections and shows. This year, a surprising number of contemporary dance performances and art exhibitions are choreographed and design around renewable energy sources, raising awareness about the importance of protecting the environment, as well as admiring and mitigating climate change.

One such example comes from a pair of young designers, who created an incredible sign placed in an terrarium, which is illuminated using power that have been generated by bacteria and soil inside the glass box.

This trend has never been noted before, which could only indicate that people are finally waking up and realizing that everyone should join forces and try to include renewables in their lives in every way they can. Of course, this does not leave art behind, and the new-comers on the scene already know that. In order to demonstrate how wonderful nature is, Matt Neff and Orkan Telhan, designers from University of Pennsylvania, used bacteria to create a truly amazing, entirely self-sufficient, flickering masterpiece.

Their art project looks like a tiny screen placed inside a glass box, surrounded by soil and little plants, but actually it is just an illusion. What looks like a typical energy-consuming screen is not a screen, it is a drawing made of electroluminescent ink, which has been silk-screened onto a flat surface, and flickers at constantly changing speeds (if you want to see it in action, check out this animation). The electricity that powers the ink comes from the bacteria geobacter, which lives in the soil and generates power as it consumes the organic matter.

Some time ago, we introduced this method for generating electricity out of hydrogen and carbon dioxide using geobacter,  and we also told you how these bacteria can clean up nuclear waste, , but seeing the process in the form of art is something entirely new. It is a whole new way of drawing attention to alternative energy sources, and if this is the modern art of our age, then I would definitely say it is the right way to go.

Image (c)  University of Pennsylvania

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