Light is our medium of choice. Be it the design of a rock band performance – think Imagine Dragons at the AMAs – or the illumination of a facade, like at the ROM, light forms the cornerstone of all our projects.
Moment Factory installed a laboratory dubbed the MF Lab with the mandate to test, research and expand our knowledge of our most prized material: light. Following numerous experiments that combined and associated different instruments and types of light emissions, we found inspiration in particular luminescence phenomena, namely, bioluminescence and photoluminescence.
WHAT ARE BIO- AND PHOTOLUMINESCENCE?
Bioluminescence, touched on here in a recent post, can be described as the production and emission of light by living organisms, such as plants or marine algae.
Photoluminescence, on the other hand, is the emission of light following the absorption of photons; phosphorescence and fluorescence are its most common manifestations. These original forms of light inspired us to explore the possibilities for their integration in multimedia installations.
Through the observation and study of bioluminescent bacteria and algae as well as luminescent substances, we were able to create three practical applications: fluorescent powders and paints, phosphorescent powders and paints, and bioluminescence.
Fluorescent Powders and Paints
Fluorescent powders and paints become, as their name suggests, fluorescent when exposed to ultraviolet light. Once the light source is extinguished, however, these paints stop emitting any light.
Phosphorescent Powders and Paints
Phosphorescent powders and paints illuminate in bright colours when exposed to a light source. Contrary to the fluorescent paints, phosphorescents continue to emit light for a certain period of time after the light source is extinguished.
Bioluminescence is light that is both produced and emitted by living organisms, such as plants, fungi, insects (think fireflies!), marine animals, such as jellyfish, bacteria or – once again, algae.
In the MF Lab, we opted to study bioluminescent algae and bacteria. Specific precautions must be taken in order to gain the full potential of these organisms’ natural light, which is both delicate to manipulate and time-limited.
The qualities of bioluminescence hold undeniable interest for future Moment Factory projects: its original colour and texture, for starters.
FROM THEORY TO PRACTICE: FORESTA LUMINA
The next logical step was to apply the discoveries made in the MF Lab in an actual project. Foresta Lumina presented the perfect moment.
Consequently, through this enchanted forest, visitors make their way from one scene to another, where different luminous atmospheres succeed one another and meld into one, going from lanterns to laser projections and, let’s not forget, to the phosphorescent paint reflections found on trees and on stones.
Our application of luminescence allows visitors to live an immersive experience in an enchanted – even magical, universe.
No matter its form, light is an endless source of inspiration for our artists. Without it, we would be unable to create those authentic experiences that are our trademark. Here, we’ve presented light in its chemical and natural forms; soon, we’ll be considering light from another, equally fascinating angle, so keep an eye open!