Persistence Of Vision

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Marine bioluminescent organisms produce a unique, powerful, and ancient living light. This refined light can travel over large distances in seawater and consequently, many of the sea’s inhabitants use this as a medium for communication.  In this work,  seawater has been infused with cells of the naturally bioluminescent algae,  Pyrocystis fusiformis.  In the dark, and when it is disturbed, this otherwise barely visible marine life form produces a flash of penetrating blue bioluminescent light. In the images above,  I used a stylus to draw letters into this seawater which, because it harbours Pyrocystis, responds by lighting up with complex yet ephemeral trails of luminescence. As each of the many thousands of algal cells is propelled on to its own unique trajectory, it lights up and generates a meteor-like trail of blue light. With respect to our influence upon our own environment, our actions often have complex and unpredictable outcomes, and my letters,  which are readable yet also complex and chaotic, become a metaphor for this. As a child might draw simple and naïve figures with a sparkler on Bonfire Night, I too have done so but with a type of natural light that might be perceived by the many life forms that inhabit our oceans and which will ultimately be affected by the influence of our actions upon it.

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