Interactive Fiat Lux Water Bowl installation by the Art|Sci Collective


ART|SCI Collective presented a site-specific collaborative installation, FIAT LUX Water Bowl, at the opening of UNESCO's annual International Day of Light, "LIGHTEST, Advanced Light Microscopy Symposium," at CNSI.
The installation was a 10-minute experience featuring sound, light, lasers, and micro and macro imagery. Participants were invited into a dark space that transitioned into an interactive experience with sound, light, and microscopy of medicinal plants juxtaposed with solar flares, Alfvén waves, and cosmic acoustics.

Art|Sci Collective members, led by artist Victoria Vesna and in collaboration with plasma physicist Walter Gekelman, project scientist Haley Marks, ALMS, John Brumley, and students Yichen Pan, Samuel Yang, Mae Chen, and Hana Azab.

The "Fiat Lux Water Bowl" installation engaged multiple senses: vision, through watching the laser beams and their reflections on the water bowl; hearing, with the accompanying sounds; and smell, through the presence of herbs in the installation space. These herbs were handpicked from a farm in Topanga and examined under a microscope. Autofluorescence and polarization images of the herbal plants were captured using a Leica Thunder Widefield Microscope.
Right after the "Art in Science" session, the audience was invited to the exhibition space, a presentation room in the CNSI lobby where we showcased the installation—truly "art" on a "science" platform! The performative installation was also displayed on the big screen in the lobby.
Check out the symposium page:

The UNESCO International Day of Light theme of 2024 was "The Light in our Lives."

Image description:
1. Installation of the "Fiat Lux Water Bowl" at Lightfest Symposium, 2024.
2. John Brumley, Yichen Pan, Samuel Yang, Mae Chen, and Hana Azab preparing the piece a few hours before showcasing.
3. Scientist Haley Marks preparing the medicinal herbs for microscopy observation.
4. Audience being immersed in the installation.
5. Installation view of the "Fiat Lux Water Bowl" at Lightfest Symposium.
6. Walter Gekelman and Victoria Vesna working with students on the piece.
7. Another view of the "Fiat Lux Water Bowl" at Lightfest Symposium.
8. Medicinal herbs: mint, horehound, rosemary, mugwort, stinging nettle, vervain, and lavender.
9. Mae Chen, Yichen Pan, and Samuel Yang were hidden behind black fabric while the installation was on view!
10. Victoria Vesna and Haley Marks with Mae Chen, Yichen Pan, and Samuel Yang after the show was over.