1994-1995, Christa SOMMERER & Laurent MIGNONNEAU
Source: 1994-1995, Christa SOMMERER & Laurent MIGNONNEAU
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"Phototropy" is a biological expression describing the force, that keeps organisms or organs, like for example bacteria or plants, following the light, in order to get nutrition and hence, to survive.

The interactive computer installation "Phototropy" speaks about virtual insects and organic growth that follows the light of a lamp, held and moved by the visitors in the installation.

Computer generated virtual insect-like organisms will follow and fight for light, seeking for nutrition.

The real physical light of a lamp nourishes virtual insects by giving them life-supporting and life-enhancing energy. These artificially living creatures struggle for light, by following it and trying to reach its central focus.

Each movement the visitor will do with the lamps beam, the creatures will follow, in order to get a maximum of light nutrition.
  • aesthetics
    • animated
    • interactive
    • three-dimensional
  • genres
    • bioart
      • genetic art
    • installations
      • interactive installations
  • technology
    • displays
      • electronic displays
        • flashlights
        • projectors
    • hardware
      • cameras
Technology & Material
Rechargeable batteries
Battery Charger
Sensors and Interface (1995 - 1999)
Camera (2000 - )
Video Projector
Wooden podium for the flash light
Installation Requirements / Space
Isolated room (from outer lights)
Flashlight with rechargeable batteries
4 Light sensors (1995 - 1999)
1 interface for tracking the flashlight with the light sensors (1995 - 1999)
Analog to serial conversion of light sensors data
Serial communication of flashlight spotlight position
Camera tracking, spot light detection onto screen surface software (2000 -)
Flight simulator for generative 3D insects
3D insects parametric generator
Genetic Algorithms
Interpolation of light sensors data for spotlight position estimation (1995 - 1999)
Image processing to locate spotlight position on screen from camera images
  • Sommerer, Christa and Laurent Mignonneau. »Phototropy II.« In The Interaction ’97, edited by Itsuo Sakane, 48-51. Gifu: IAMAS Academy and Softopia, 1997.
  • Sommerer, Christa and Laurent Mignonneau. »Interaktive Echtzeit – Computerinstallation auf der Light Emotions in Hannover.« In Licht International: Planung – Design – Technik – Handel, , 206-207. München, DE: Pflaum Verlag, 1996.
  • Sommerer, Christa and Laurent Mignonneau. »Phototropy.« In Oltre Il Villaggio Globale: Beyond the Global Village, edited by M. G. Mattei and P. Berté, 134-135. Milano: Electra Edition, 1995.
  • Sommerer, Christa and Laurent Mignonneau. »Phototropy.« In Art as Signal: Inside the Loop, edited by K. Chmelewski and N. Goggin and J. SquierChampaign, ILL: University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign and Krannert Art Museum, 1995.
  • Sommerer, Christa and Laurent Mignonneau. »Anthroposcope and Phototropy.« In ARTEC´95, Nagoya: Nagoya City Art Museum, 1995.