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algal bioluminescent light and textiles

"The multinational artists’ collective BioBabes uses the science of biology to rethink clothing designs. Their designs feature a variety of materials and manufacturing processes that include living organisms and organic materials. They aim to introduce the new field of biofabrication and biodesign to a wider public.

For this exhibition, the collective is developing a new work, which will be shown here for the first time"

- HeK press release

In this wearable, Bio-Lum-Sac, we address new territories of engage in a symbiotic relationship with the body and an organism. Our concept was to create a light organ that could be seen as an extension of the human body to host living organisms and illuminate the otherwise invisible creatures around us. 


Here, the substratum is made from alginate bioplastic to showcase algae as a viable alternative source for bio textile fabrication. Alginate is a complex carbohydrate found in the cell walls of brown seaweed, mixed with water and natural plasticiser in concentrated amounts, cast and cured until dry, then laser cut. The bioplastic is attached to a liquid backpack that keeps the algae alive. The algae medium is circulated from pouches through silicon tubing that encircles around the neck of the person wearing it. In the dark space, this vibrant blue light is emitted from dinoflagellate algae, Pyrocystis, that lives on the surface layer of seawater. The algae’s glow, a brief flash of bright blue light, is generated by a chemical reaction part of its circadian rhythm and induced by agitation during its dark cycle. However, the algae will not exhibit a constant glow as the light will fade when agitated multiple times within the same cycle.

A piece created for Making Fashion Sense Exhibition at House of Electronic Arts Basel (HeK).

The exhibition Making FASHION Sense showcases the radical transformation of fashion through technology. Robot arms and mixed reality, holograms and drones have all paraded down international catwalks. Making FASHION Sense focuses on the impact of technology upon creative processes in the fashion industry, as well as on artistic paths leading towards increasing sustainability: Fashion which makes sense.

Curators: Sabine Himmelsbach and Katharina Sand
Project by:
Thora H Arnardottir & Jessica Dias
Material design support:
Catherine Euale & Larra Campos
Biological support:
Dr. Beate Christgen


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