Living Colour, a project that explores natural textile dyeing with live bacteria and the use of sound.
The Netherlands-based textile and surface designers Ilfa Siebenhaar and Laura Luchtman partnered on the project Living Colour.
Fascinated by bacterial pigments and creating patterns on textiles. Ilfa and Laura explore natural textile dying with live bacteria by the use of sound!
“We investigated the optimum growth conditions for bacterial pigments, ways to speed up the growth process and the possibilities of growing bacteria in patterns by subjecting them to sound frequencies. Asking “What effect do sound frequencies have on the growth of bacterial pigments?” and “Can we control the process of growing bacterial pigments?” states Laura.
Taking inspiration from cymatic phenomena like Chladni figures and Faraday waves, which cause matter to take form in geometrical patterns when subjected to sound. With the help of sound engineer Eduard van Dommelen Ilfa and Laura built a sound installation in the biomedical lab of Rotterdam University. By making the bacteria dance, they attempted to exclude random growth in order to create beautiful patterned fabrics.
“We discovered that sound frequencies help speed up pigment production. While the bacteria that weren’t subjected to sound created stained fabrics, we found that the dancing bacteria created plain dyed fabrics. Even though the result was the opposite of what we aimed for, the result was absolutely fascinating. Using sound frequencies to grow bacteria could lead to ways of scaling up the bacterial dye process.” continued Laura.
Living Colour is a biodesign research project exploring the possibilities of natural dying with living microorganisms: bacteria. To further explore this research work, Ilfa and Laura seek for collaboration with scientists, material designers, educational institutes, textile developers, textile institutes, etc.