Living lights: going for green gold at Vivid Sydney
UTS will be the first university to have its own Vivid Sydney installation, a living breathing “algae forest” of coloured light.
For the past nine years Sydney’s annual festival of light, music and ideas – Vivid Sydney – has transformed the city and surrounds into a veritable wonderland of lights, sculptures and grand scale projections.
In 2018 the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) will be the first university to have its own Vivid Sydney installation, a living breathing “algae forest” of coloured light, taking algae out of the lab and into a very public, and international, arena.
Although algae sustain the health of our oceans and provide 50 percent of the air we breathe, these microscopic plants don’t often get the credit they deserve. Director of the UTS Climate Change Cluster (C3) Professor Peter Ralph says the aim of the installation is to improve public perception of algae through a colourful, interactive and visually engaging display that will “shake off its ‘slimy’ image” and open viewers’ minds to algae’s potential as a revolutionary raw material in a changing world.
“I really believe that the potential for algae’s use in a sustainable future is limitless. As we move away from petroleum-based products algae can play a pivotal role in Australia’s clean energy future, and the high value opportunities in medicine, food and nutraceuticals are also exciting and tantalisingly close,” he says.
Professor Ralph says UTS is well placed to support the development of industries seeking a clean, green renewable raw material. In 2016 the NSW Government supported the establishment of the Deep Green Biotech Hub (DGBH), also led by Professor Ralph, with further funding in 2017 through the NSW Boosting Business Innovation Program.
“Government and industry are already committed to the establishment of algae-based industries and are making sure we are part of the emerging algal bioeconomy. Our participation in Vivid Lights takes ‘green gold’ to a whole new level and a whole new audience,” Professor Ralph says.
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