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Bearers of Light: meeting up with fireflies at the Insectarium

Firefly
Credit: © Linden Gledhill
Firefly
Bearers of Light: meeting up with fireflies at the Insectarium

For this summer, Space for Life has put together a program all in light. And when you think light at the Insectarium, you spontaneously think of fireflies for the magic created by their bioluminescent language of love.

An interactive artistic installation

Enjoy an unprecedented immersive experience with fireflies at the Insectarium, as if you were in the countryside on a lovely summer evening – that’s the challenge we set two of our media-arts artists, Mathieu Le Sourd and Étienne Paquette. The ability of fireflies to produce light naturally and use it as a means of communication inspired these artists in the development of the installation Bearers of Light, which blends art and science.

Guided in the darkness by photoluminescent bulbs, you penetrate a space populated by virtual fireflies. Then, with your fingertips, you can engage in dialogue with them and make them twirl and play at meeting other fireflies in a poetic dance, limited only by the workings of your own imagination. Smiles guaranteed!

A word about the artists

A multimedia artist who began his career in 2005, Mathieu Le Sourd has since presented his work in galleries and at festivals in the four corners of the world. A lover of music and the digital arts, he concentrates on the creation of immersive performances, physical-interaction devices and audiovisual systems generated in real time.

Étienne Paquette has worked for a number of years as a designer, writer and director in the audiovisual and museum exhibition fields. His work, divided between writing and the creation of narrative environments and multimedia interactive installations, is marked by a strong interest in history and urban spaces. Étienne is also the holder of a doctorate in communication.

Photoluminescence and bioluminescence demystified

An interesting scientific fact: the fluorescence that guides you in the installation will be created courtesy of the tonic water introduced into the bulbs, which are then lit up by ultraviolet radiation! The secret of tonic water’s fluorescence is in the quinine it contains, a natural alkaloid discovered in South America in the 17th century, and which comes from the bark of the cinchona tree. Quinine was the first treatment for malaria, and is used as a flavoring component to lend tonic water its bitter taste.

Then, to demystify bioluminescence in arthropods and insects – meaning luminescence created by a chemical process in a living organism – encounters with true specimens and unbelievable discoveries await.

The perception of artists and the discovery of insects – two facets of experience inviting us to live in greater harmony with nature.

I wish you a firefly- and light-filled summer, from June 20 to August 30!

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2 Comment(s)
Fleurette Riverin's picture
Fleurette Riverin

I wonder why you do'nt say a word about the artist Jean-François Pedneault who did the sounds of this installation?

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