additive12015 is the UNESCO International Year of Light. To mark the occasion I collaborated with art teacher Will Parker and school students age 11-13 years to create an exhibition of scientific artworks. I highly recommend any high school teachers to try similar as it was so effective, fun, and educational.

Light Painting

In the new Science syllabus in the UK students in KS3 learn about many properties of light. The physics module covers reflection, refraction, and colour. The additive colour mixing of light and subtractive absorption of light from filters or surfaces was explored in depth.
In science students experimented with colour filtered light to discover the additive nature of light; primary colours of red, green, and blue mix to form the secondary colours of yellow, cyan, and magenta.This was then reinforced in art lessons as students were presented with pictorial sums; asked to sketch the final image from the addition of multiple light images.

ColourSum1 ColourSum2 ColourSum3

Armed with this knowledge students were each provided with an image of the red, green, or blue colour channel of Vincent van Gogh’s ‘The Starry Night’ to reproduce in pastels. With around 75 students in total there were around 25 reproductions produced for each primary colour channel. The students work was then scanned and post processed into a greyscale digital version.

Red + Green + Blue = Original
Red + Green + Blue = Original

To exhibit the work we set up three projectors with a red, green, or blue filter covering their lens. The three projectors were aligned to fully overlap one another and form a single image on a screen. Each of the red, green, and blue projectors showed the students work relevant to that channel.The end result was a continuously changing reconstruction of the original work. Each unique piece lasted for a brief moment, constructed from original works of three different combinations of student each time.