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BIO-LUM-SAC: Algae as a bioluminescent light and a bio-textile.

Category: Bio - wearable
Designers:  Thora H Arnardottir  and Jessica Dias 
Material support: Catherine Euale & Larra Campos
Biological support: Dr. Beate Christgen
A piece created for Making Fashion Sense Exhibition at HeK.
Curators: Sabine Himmelsbach and Katharina Sand

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.


Pyrocystis fusiformis Dinoflagillate

They derived their name from the Latin pyro, meaning fire, and cystis, meaning a hollow sac. They are also a part of the marine phytoplankton community and thus contribute a large amount of oxygen to the world’s atmosphere while also consuming a large amount of carbon dioxide. 

Seen through microscopic photography,  the arrangement of the flagella causes Pyrocystis fusiformis to spin as it moves through the water.

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.

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