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Light Harvest

Width 10', Height 9'

Hi-tec Kozo paper, video projection


Light Harvest had been installed in three locations: Grunwald Gallery of Art at Indiana University Bloomington in 2016 ​, CODA Museum in Apeldoorn, Netherlands in 2017, and Esther Klein Gallery at University City Science Center in Philadelphia in 2018. 


Inspired by the beautiful images found in the electron density maps visualizing protein structures, and influenced by D’Arcy Wentworth Thompson’s work on form-finding, Light Harvest transfers the folding structure of a protein (or a group of proteins) called Light-Harvesting Complex into a larger installation. The Light-Harvesting Complex is the solar sail of the photosynthesis components in plants and some micro-organisms that uses bundled sunlight and together with water to create sugar and oxygen, thus providing the basis for life on this planet. This protein, resulting from billions of years of evolution, is mother nature’s marvelous engine. Light Harvest explores the folding structure of Light Harvesting Complex in the realm of materials, construction, form-finding and form-making by using paper folding, particularly “Nojima” origami pattern, and video projection technology.  It not only catches viewers’ eyes with the stunningly beautiful folding structure of the protein, but also provokes us to think deeper about the next-generational renewable biological energy system.  Could we, as human beings, reengineer this complex biological structure into a new type of solar cell? Could the power of molecular biology be harnessed to address the ultimate energy and carbon dioxide problem that humankind must solve?

UX Design: Kyle Overton

Fabrication: Steve Dixon

Scientist: Susanne Ressl


For research related to this installation, check out this article:

Wu, J., Ressl, S. & Overton, K (2018). Light Harvest: Interactive Sculptural Installation based on Folding and Mapping Proteins, Digital Creativity, Volume 29, Issue 4. pp. 274-286. doi: 10.1080/14626268.2018.1533871.

click here to download PDF .

For more information on UX design, check out Kyle Overton's website below:

Photo courtesy of CODA Museum and Kyle Overton.

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