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Bioluminescent Forest: exploring future technology through bioluminescence

Artists Friedrich van Schoor and Tarek Mawad infuse a forest in Germany with bioluminescence to create a spectacular short film.

by Mrinalini Ghadiok Jul 10, 2019

Fascinated by the silence and natural occurrences in nature, artists Friedrich van Schoor and Tarek Mawad spent six weeks in a forest outside of Stuttgart, Germany, conceptualising a compelling work titled Bioluminescent Forest. Inspired by the phenomenon of bioluminescence seen in the inner depths of the ocean, and in animals like jellyfish and fireflies, they wanted to recreate this effect on land. 

“A forest with glowing plants, mushrooms and trees is what we always wanted to see and where we wanted to live since we were little children. We wanted to make this ‘dream’ come true.”

  • Bioluminescent Forest by artists Friedrich van Schoor and Tarek Mawad | 3hund| STIR
    Bioluminescent Forest by artists Friedrich van Schoor and Tarek Mawad Image Credit: Courtesy of 3hund
  • The short film combines technological and biological universes| Bioluminescent Forest| 3hund| Friedrich van Schoor and Tarek Mawad| STIR
    The short film combines technological and biological universes Image Credit: Courtesy of 3hund
  • A bioluminescent toad| Bioluminescent Forest| 3hund| Friedrich van Schoor| Tarek Mawad| STIR
    A bioluminescent toadImage Credit: Courtesy of 3hund
  • An illuminated mushroom| Bioluminescent Forest| 3hund| STIR
    An illuminated mushroomImage Credit: Courtesy of 3hund

Stepping away from projection mapping on static building facades, Friedrich and Tarek created animated video projections that were programmed to cast moving images of light across irregular surfaces. Personifying the forest, they accentuated its natural beauty by creating gleaming plants, luminous trees, and mushrooms glowing with colourful radiance.

The end result was a short film set to an ethereal score by composer Achim Treu, in which a verdant forest is bespattered with subtle interplays between light and shadow. The illuminated forest speaks volumes to any visitor that enters the minds of the artists through viewing Bioluminescent Forest.

  • A glowing tree| Bioluminescent Forest| Friedrich van Schoor and Tarek Mawad| 3hund| STIR
    A glowing tree Image Credit: Courtesy of 3hund
  • The surreal phenomena of bioluminescence as projected by artists Friedrich van Schoor and Tarek Mawad| Bioluminescent Forest| 3hund| STIR
    The surreal phenomena of bioluminescence as projected by artists Friedrich van Schoor and Tarek Mawad Image Credit: Courtesy of 3hund
  • Artists Friedrich van Schoor and Tarek Mawad turn forest into a glowing wonderland| Bioluminescent Forest| 3hund| STIR
    Artists Friedrich van Schoor and Tarek Mawad turn forest into a glowing wonderland Image Credit: Courtesy of 3hund

(The article was first published in Issue #01 of mondo*arc india journal – an initiative by STIR.)

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About Author

Mrinalini Ghadiok

Mrinalini Ghadiok

Ghadiok is an architect by training, visualizer by heart and writer by passion. Having worked in the fields of architecture, lighting design, historical research and writing for more than a decade, she is driven by her passion for exceptional design and the narrative that choreographs its experience. As the editor of mondo*arc india journal and now STIRworld, she continues her foray in design journalism and publishing.

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