Lightwaves – free festival will light up MediaCity

Categories: School of Science, Engineering and Environment

The annual free Lightwaves festival at MediaCity will this year have an exciting new Sci-art installation called MicroCosmic, as part of the University of Salford’s contribution to the event.

Designed by artist Paul Miller, the piece uses video, sound and projection mapped sculpture to take viewers on a journey from the microscopic to the infinite vastness of the universe. The work is inspired by the research of University of Salford Microbiologist, Professor Chloe James, in collaboration with The University of Liverpool.  MicroCosmic will be on display in the University’s MediaCity campus for the duration of the festival, which runs from Dec 1-4 and will be available to view until Dec 9.

Aimed at making science more accessible through immersive experience and hands on activities, the installation is based on a type of virus called a bacteriophage (or phage for short). Phages are viruses that infect bacteria by injecting their DNA into bacteria and replicate inside. Some phages infiltrate the bacteria and help them adapt to new surroundings. Others produce enzymes that kill the bacteria by bursting them open. Being the most abundant organisms on earth, phages underlie the fundamental biology of our planet.

Professor James, said: “I’m really excited about this exhibit in which we are really blurring the boundaries between art and science.

“I am passionate about making scientific research more accessible to wide audiences, and I was thrilled to be able to share our latest research and see how people responded to it when we were down at the Royal Society in London. It’s really nice to bring it back home, up North for the Lightwaves event.”

As well as experiencing the immersive artwork, visitors can get involved by playing with giant 3D models that replicate phage actions or perhaps create a sparkling Christmas tree decoration that looks like a phage. These activities were developed by the “Microbial Puppet Masters” team at Salford and Liverpool as part of the prestigious Summer Science Exhibition at the Royal Society in London, July 2022.

As a whole Lightwaves attracts thousands of visitors each December to explore a trail of illuminated installations that animate and transform our surroundings across the Media City site. Visit the Lightwaves website to find out more: https://lightupthenorth.com/lightwaves/

For all press office enquiries please email communications@salford.ac.uk.