Luciferins – an interactive installation inspired by invisible networks of bioluminescent fish and internet network traffic

Luciferins—inspired by bioluminescent fish and the plethora of invisible network traffic that surrounds us—is an interactive environment of hanging fiber structures, filling a 15 x 15 foot space. The patterns used to create the felted wool structures were generated using code and Voronoi algorithms. Depth cameras are used to sense viewers and their movement in the space. Many fiber structures are distributed throughout the space, creating a layered environment that envelops the viewer’s body. As viewers move through the environment, the fiber structures closest to them illuminate with colorful graphical animations; field recordings from diverse locations play in the speakers. After a short period of time in one location, a graphical portal opens to show real time network communication packets, which are also invisibly traversing the space simultaneously. Radio transmissions then play in a 7-channel sound system. The portal opens only for a few seconds before returning the room to its normal state. Viewer movements illustrate parallel worlds just beyond our bodily perception.

Luciferins makes our digital networks perceptible when they are often imperceptible. The infrastructure that facilitates communication largely remains hidden. Luciferins’ network becomes perceptible by movement of the body. It gives viewers a sense of the invisible activity that surrounds them—just as a swimmer would make a dwelling of sea sparkle appear by swimming through it. Luciferins seeks to not only be an experience, but to open up the conversation about network control and privacy in the information age.

Luciferins is included in a group show, Unnatural Processes, curated by Valérie Hallier at the Westbeth Gallery in Manhattan New York, until July 28th.

Curated by Valérie Hallier

Dates: June 30th – July 28th, 2023
Hours: Wednesday – Sunday 1- 6pm

Closing Reception: July 27th 6-8pm

Artists include: Katherine Bennett/LadyK, Jean Foos, Tessa Grundon, Valérie Hallier, Lindha Loh, Christina Massey, Aston Philip & Roxane Revon

Nature is an all encompassing entity that exists without humans. Yet, it is impossible to think of humanity as an entity that could exist without nature. Seeing humanity and all its actions as part of nature is more reasonable. French anthropologist, Philippe Descola, observes 4 ways of “being” in the world as humans: animism, totemism, analogism and naturalism. If we agree that our thought processes are firmly welded into Western philosophy, prizing the rational, scientific, and logical, we can then agree that we embody naturalism. Yet as artists we are open to other ways of being, thinking, and seeing. The work of the eight international artists featured in this show revisits our contemporary relationship with the non-human. A great variety of mediums and processes are all centered around new ways to visualize and interact with our environment: virtual, real, or re-created.

Linda Loh’s virtual world reveals fleeting spaces beyond everyday experiences. Roxane Revon maps out the underground ecosystem of specific locations. Similarly, Tessa Grundon’s work is rooted in “places”, reflecting on our current Anthropocene. Aston Philip creates an ecosystem of the painters tools and materials with each part incorporated and recycled. Jean Foos, Valérie Hallier and Christina Massey’s mixed media sculptures each bring new life to discarded objects, eloquently commenting on consumerism and climate change. Foos, Hallier and Massey also give a nod to Surrealism as they fabricate pieces with unexpected, “unnatural” combinations. LadyK’s interactive installation, Luciferins, is inspired by hidden networks drawing upon marine organisms and communication networks.

Luciferins was supported by Harvestworks NewWorks Residency Program, New York State Council on the Arts Sponsored Project – Media and New Technologies, and Fiber Arts Now.

Project Website | Gallery site for Unnatural Processes | LadyK links: Instagram