A Lamp Made From a Hamster’s Ovary?

What is happening in the murky video clip to your left? To be honest, I’m not entirely certain. All I can tell you for sure is that this is a preview of the new work by Joris Laarman Lab to be exhibited at Friedman Benda Gallery, in New York, beginning Friday.

Laarman is the young Dutch designer best known for creating the Bone Chair and Bone Chaise, among other bone furniture. For those limited-edition pieces, he used computer algorithms and a trademarked CAD casting method to mimic the growing patterns of bones in bizarre-looking aluminum or polyurethane seats.

His new work includes the Half Life Lamp, which again tries to imitate a biological process in a manufacturing setting. This is a case where it may be best to let the designer speak for himself. Here’s an excerpt from a statement by Laarman:

This lamp Half life – it is half made of living organism and half made of non living material recently died. It was born on February 23 in a Dutch tissue culture laboratory. On the video Half life radiated brightly when it was in healthy conditions. The cells responsible for the emission of light in the hood of the lamp originally stem from a Chinese hamster. In 1957 these CHO cells were isolated from a hamster’s ovary and kept alive as a cell culture for research purposes. In the 1990s this cell line was enriched with the fire fly’s luciferase gene. Ever since than these hamster cells glow in the dark in presence of luciferine. According to present state of knowledge in the life science the development of bioluminescence systems in living organisms occurred naturally about 20 or 30 times in evolution. Well known examples of bioluminescence are found in bacteria, fire flies, and jelly fish.

So the above video illustrates this bioluminescence. And the final result?

Find out more at the exhibition Joris Laarman Lab, at New York’s Friedman Benda Gallery from March 4 until April 10.

Video and photo: courtesy Joris Laarman Lab

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