Italiano [English below]
Flussi di energia tra piante, umani e altri viventi, è un’installazione multimediale, immersiva e interattiva sull’energia, tema sempre più attuale e urgente.
sostantivo femminile dal greco antico ἐνέργεια (energeia), “capacità di agire“.
Il cuore dell’installazione è un albero avvolto nel buio.
Senza luce la fotosintesi non può avvenire e l’albero rischia di non farcela. Esiste una sola fonte luminosa e le persone hanno a disposizione degli specchi con i quali possono provare a riflettere la luce sulle foglie.
Ma possono anche fare ombra con i loro corpi.
Un sistema di rivelatori misura in tempo reale la fotosintesi in corso e produce delle variazioni sonore che si possono percepire nell’ambiente.
La presenza umana si può pertanto non solo vedere ma anche sentire.
Alcune voci racconteranno di come viaggia l’energia negli ecosistemi, di organismi che si “nutrono di luce”, di noi che ci nutriamo di loro, del Sole.
Possiamo fermarci un attimo a osservare e riflettere.
Fino a quando la pianta resta in vita, tutto può andare avanti.
Ideazione e direzione:
Vincenzo Guarnieri (FRAME – Divagazioni Scientifiche)
Sound e interaction design:
Lodovica Maria Ferrari, Vincenzo Guarnieri, Federico Primavera, Giulia Tortorici
Grafica e web design:
Energy flows between plants, humans and other living beings. LUMEN is a multimedia, immersive and interactive installation on energy, an increasingly topical and urgent issue.
The heart of the installation is a tree immersed in darkness.
With no light, photosynthesis cannot take place and the tree is in danger of failing. There is only one light source and people have mirrors with which they can try to reflect the light onto the leaves. But they can also make shadows with their bodies.
A system of detectors measures the ongoing photosynthesis in real time and produces sound changes that can be perceived in the environment. Human presence can therefore not only be seen but also heard.
A few voices will tell about energy travels in ecosystems, organisms ‘feeding on light’, us feeding on them, the Sun.
We can stop for a moment to observe and reflect.
Can we live without light? Someone can. There are microbes living on the ocean floor or underground that feed on inorganic molecules and do not need the sun at all. The first life forms appeared on Earth, almost 4 billion years ago, were cells that probably lived this way.
Then one of these cells evolved to produce a molecular system capable of trapping the Sun’s energy and transforming it into chemical energy. Thus, photosynthesis was born.
In almost all ecosystems on our planet, energy enters in the form of sunlight. This energy reaches photosynthetic organisms, such as plants. They partly convert it into chemical energy and partly reflect or disperse it as heat.
The chemical energy we are talking about is that contained in sugars and other molecules that are formed through photosynthesis.
Probably the first form of photosynthesis appeared on the planet was ‘anoxygenic’, not producing molecular oxygen but something else, for instance sulphur. This is what green sulphobacteria still do today.
Then cyanobacteria appeared with two photosynthetic systems that could work in synchrony. This made photosynthesis so efficient that it was able to ‘rip’ electrons out of the water molecule, producing molecular oxygen.
Light consists of electromagnetic waves.
The propagation of electromagnetic waves enables the propagation of the energy associated with them.
Energy can neither be created nor destroyed, but only transformed from one form to another. This is called the ‘principle of conservation of energy’. It is not a principle decided by anyone, it has been observed that in nature this happens. Plants and other photosynthetic organisms convert light into chemical energy. But the total amount of energy does not change, that is, what goes in is the same as what is converted or reflected or dispersed.
When a herbivore eats a plant, the energy contained in the molecules of the plant is passed on to the herbivore. In the animal’s body, it is converted into other forms, such as kinetic energy by which it can run or chew, for example. And, to a large extent, it is dissipated as heat.
Whenever you try to convert energy into another form, a part is always lost as heat. The efficiency of the process is never 100%.
When a carnivore eats a herbivore, the chemical energy of the molecules of the herbivore is used by the carnivore and, again, a large part is lost as heat.
And the same thing happens when a carnivore eats another carnivore.
Oxygen thus began to spread, first in the seas and then, around 2.7 billion years ago, also in the atmosphere. It was a massacre.
When an organism dies, whether it is a bacterium, fungus, plant, alga, herbivore or carnivore there is no difference, detritivorous organisms feed on its body and use the chemical energy it contains. Again, most of this energy is dissipated in the form of heat.
From the Sun, the flow of energy, the light, starts and this flow transits through the ecosystem, passing from one organism to another, and exits the ecosystem in the form of heat. Materials, made of atoms and molecules, also transit through an ecosystem, as energy does, but they are then recycled. And they remain there, available. Energy, on the other hand, cannot be recycled. An ecosystem needs to continuously receive a flow of energy from outside, from the Sun, in order to live.
Light is generated in the Sun. It propagates in all directions. What reaches our planet is in small part converted into chemical energy by photosynthetic organisms and in large part reflected or dispersed as heat.
It was a massacre because molecular oxygen was a poison to almost all the cells present at that time. Only a few survived and some of these developed the ability to use that poison to burn organic molecules with a higher energy yield. This is how cellular respiration was born. The respiration by which we also live today.
Can we live without light?
Concept and Direction:
Vincenzo Guarnieri (FRAME – Divagazioni Scientifiche)
Sound and Interaction Design:
Lodovica Maria Ferrari, Vincenzo Guarnieri Federico Primavera, Giulia Tortorici
Graphics and Web Design: