posted in: Form 0


Sonik Module, design concept for ‘Sity’ – a Spiraling City Project, Shanghai, 2012
Photo via eVolo

The conceptually extravagant megastructure called ‘Sity’ is a design proposal for the city of Shanghai – likened to a gigantic dragon coiling its way through the city. At times the structure reaches 60 stories in height as it loops its way over a man-made river and park. It is designed as a multi-purpose structure with an internal transit system serving upper floors of the ‘Sity’ and touching down at various points to provide access to the activities of the city.



Big Architecture, design for ‘La Maison des Fondateurs’, Audemars Piguet, La Vallée de Joux, Switzerland, 2014
Photo via inhabitant

This striking concept for the new museum and workshop space for the Swiss watchmaker Audemars Piquet feels as thought it emerged naturally from the surrounding gently rolling landscape. An aesthetic double spiral sequences the indoor space into a logical continuum for visitors as though representing the inner workings of a beautifully designed watch. The roof and ceiling are designed as a single piece of metal undulating to allow interplays of interior lighting and daylight.



Bystrup Architecture Design and Engineering, spiral ramp design concept for London’s nine elms bridge, 2015
Photo via designboom

The simple and elegant bridge over the river Thames will be the first bridge for cyclists and pedestrians in central London. The photo itself has a Turner-esque quality and the spiral ramps at each end give it an alive spring-like feeling. One of the challenges is to give the bridge enough height above the Thames to allow movement of river traffic without making an excessively steep incline for cyclists and pedestrians.



Robert Smithson, ‘Spiral Jetty’, Great Salt Lake, UT, 1970
Photo via panoramio

Smithson’s famous large-scale earthwork ‘Spiral Jetty’ was recently recognized by the state of Utah as an official state work of land art. Located in the algae-reddish northeastern shore of Great Salt Lake, the jetty is designed to be several inches above the water level. Depending on the season, it may be fully submerged or exposed on the dry salt flat. 15 feet wide and 1500 feet long, the jetty used more than 6000 tons of rock and earth. The art historical significance and beauty of the jetty in its remote location will continue to attract visitors to walk the spiral in the drier seasons and perhaps the wet.

Ultraviolet Light

posted in: Light 0


Cara Phillips, ‘Ultraviolet Beauties’, 2008
Photo via GIZMODO/CaraPhillips

Cara Phillips has created a fascinating contemplative-feeling portrait portfolio inspired by ultraviolet photography used in the medical profession to visualize the ‘state of the skin’. The project reveals “every tiny little imperfection across a person’s face. To produce the black and white series, the artist set up on the streets of New York with a sign that said ‘Free Portraits’. Any willing participants agreed to sit down right there [close their eyes] and have their photo taken underneath a UV light.” – fstoppers


NASA, UV photo of sun during a rare solar eclipse by Venus, 2013
Photo via NASA

The ultraviolet photo was taken while the sun was eclipsed by Venus in 2013. Telescopes in NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) are able to reveal in stunning detail the sun’s extreme ultraviolet activity that takes place unseen by the human eye.  As described by NASA the eclipsed sun “was imaged in three colors of ultraviolet light by the Earth-orbiting Solar Dynamics Observatory, with the dark region toward the right corresponding to a coronal hole. . . . The next Venusian solar eclipse will occur in 2117.”

Bioluminescence – Microorganisms

posted in: Light 0


Bioluminescent phytoplankton, Hobart, Tasmania
Photo via CSIRO

Bioluminescent phytoplankton display a vibrant bluish greenish light when disturbed or agitated by wave action – creating the sparkle of this drifting night-time spectacle. Bioluminescence occurs in these microscopic living organisms when the enzyme luciferase catalyzes oxidation of the chemical luciferin to a light-emitting state. Luciferin is well named – originating from the Latin word lucifer, ‘bearer of light’.


Benthem Crouwel Architects, ‘Lightwaves’, 2016-17 
Photo via Materia

Benthem Crouwel Architects developed a sparkling ‘Lightwaves’ concept for the Amsterdam Festival of Light. The night-time installation mimics the bioluminescence of phytoplankton as light emitted by electricity rather than biochemically – and as disturbed by wind rather than the action of water. As the wind blows, the veil transforms into waves lighting a multitude of LED lights into airborne simulations of phytoplankton.


Bioluminescent phytoplankton from the whale scene in the movie ‘Life of Pi’, 2012
Photo via 3dartistonline

The leaping  whale scene in the movie ‘Life of Pi’ is a stunning visualization of the disturbance of bioluminescent phytoplankton floating at the ocean’s surface. It is a magical sequence filmed in a massive custom-built wave pool. Beautifully blended camerawork and digital effects have created an awesome representation of the natural phenomenon of bioluminescence.


Hunter Cole, ‘The Entomologist I: Portrait of Bob Hamilton’, photo by light of bioluminescent bacteria, 
Photo via interaliamag

The geneticist and artist, Hunter Cole combined biological knowledge and visual skills to create this unusual and provocative photograph. Cultures of living bioluminescent bacteria in petri dishes act as lamps in the darkness providing the sole light source for the photograph of the entomologist, Bob Hamilton. Production of light by bioluminescent bacteria is similar to the light bearing luciferin-luciferase chemistry present in bioluminescent phytoplankton.

Bioluminescence – Crystal Jelly

posted in: Light 0


‘Crystal Jelly’, Aequorea victoria jellyfish
Photo via ‘Aequorea victoria’ video

The transparent and virtually colorless appearance of the ‘crystal jelly’ belies its fluorescent contribution to the advancement of biological imaging. The only presence of bioluminescence is a ring of green fluorescence at the rim of the umbrella shape. The ring is only visible in the ultraviolet light range.


Aequorea victoria – ‘Ring of Fluorescence’
Photo via Toochee

Blue LED lighting reveals Aequorea victoria’s ring of fluorescence. It is this ring that makes the ‘crystal jelly’ famous. It is the traditional source of green fluorescent protein (GFP) used in fluorescent biological imaging.


A startling genetic expression of inherited bioluminescence
Photo via National Institute of Health

GFP can be introduced into living creatures for monitoring gene expression and proteins of specific biological processes. This bizarre image visualizes the continued presence of the green fluorescent protein in the genome of the male parent to that of three mice in the litter of six. The vibrant green of GFP becomes visible in the presence of light in the UV range.


GFP highlighting ASH neurons in the primitive organism, C. elegans
Photo via OIST

The image is a beautiful representation of the GFP marker for sensory neurons in pathways of neural activity in the tiny round worm C. elegans – used for studies in genetics and neurology. ASH neurons have the function of avoiding potentially harmful stimuli. It is extraordinary to have the ability to visualize neural function with this degree of microscopic magnification.

Emitted Light

posted in: Light 0


Graphene Light – atomic level strength of light emission
Photo via phys org

The atom-thick graphene layer in the image is in the hard-to-believe one billionth of a meter range. The exceptional conductivity and strength of light emitted at the atomic level of graphene has played a significant role in light amplification in LEDs and fiber optics. Light as a medium in the visual arts has undergone extraordinary developments in recent years. Artists have responded by expressing ideas in innovative and powerful displays of emitted light.



Jim Campbell, ‘Blur’, LEDs, cast resin and custom electronics, 2017
Photo via brycewolkowitz



Luzinterruptus,’ Radioactive Encounter’, LEDs in hazmat suits, 2011



Carlo Bernardini, ‘Light Catalyst’, plexiglass and fiber optics, 2002
Photo via carlobernardini



Bruce Munro, ‘Field of Light’, solar powered LEDs and fiber optics, Uluru near Ayers Rock, Australia, 2016-2018
Photo via this is colossal


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