Hunter Cole, an artist and scientist, will give New Orleanians the chance to experience both art and science at the same time. Her interactive event titled GLOW: An Illuminated Living Art Experience, will be held Thursday, October 10th from 6-10 p.m. at the Zeitgeist Theatre.
Cole is one of the first artists to produce significant works using bioluminescent light (she began working with it in 2003). She was first introduced to the bacteria while working as an adjunct at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee for a few years. "A professor there had a student isolate a very bright strain of bioluminescent bacteria from the gut of a Pacific rockfish. The professor drew a heart for his wife with the bacteria. I thought if you could draw a heart with the bacteria you could draw lots of things," she recalls.
Cole, who holds a Ph.D in genetics, is currently faculty at Loyola University New Orleans and reinterprets science through art through different media, including paintings, photography, music, and digital art. Her love of art and science stems back to childhood visits to art and science museums with her father.
"More recently, I have expanded the application and use of bioluminescent light to more complex works including figurative compositions (portraits, dancers, and nudes). Some of my newer work depicts my keen interest in surreal imagery and symbolism."
She has also created a course, as well as an online version at Loyola University, where students have the opportunity to create art in a biology lab.
GLOW: An Illuminated Living Art Experience has been a long time coming. Cole envisioned an installation with live bacteria for years, but needed a space like the Zeitgeist Theatre that was large and dark enough.
The complimentary event is part of Cole's multimedia photo exhibit on display in the theatre's lounge through November 28th. At the interactive event, guests will have the opportunity to walk through the dark theatre illuminated by never-before-seen art created with bioluminescent bacteria. Attendees can interact with dancers wearing the "glowing art" costumes and become art themselves: Cole will photograph guests interacting with the pieces, which will be available for purchase as Hunter Cole originals.
It's hard to imagine that guests won't be wowed by the interactive show, which also serves as a social media-friendly event. Guests will be able to "take and post selfies in the unique environment of bioluminescent light," Cole says.