Jason Bruges Studio was commissioned to create a series of three installations for Life in the Dark at the Natural History Museum – an exhibition that delves into the darkest corners of earth to reveal a vibrant, buzzing ecosystem that is rich, diverse, bizarre and extraordinary.

The Natural History Museum were keen to create an inspiring learning environment that brings to life the habitats and behaviours of creatures that live in the dark. Working closely with exhibition designers, Nissen Richards Studio, Jason Bruges Studio worked towards interactive experiences that are multisensory and dynamic, combining science with art and technology to bring visitors closer to nature.

Life in the Dark takes visitors on a fascinating journey. It begins in a forest setting at twilight where foxes, owls and badgers entice us into the night. Jason Bruges Studio worked with RCA students Ala Nunu leszyńska and Natasza Cetner to develop a charming multi-layered projection artwork that reveals the playful nocturnal habits of these familiar woodland creatures.

Delving deeper, visitors reach complete darkness and discover a bat cave. The immersive environment uses a clever combination of custom controlled LEDs and shadow play to emulate being among a colony of flying bats. Using a simple theatrical set up, Jason Bruges Studio produced a highly memorable experience of exploration and discovery.

Towards the end of the exhibition, visitors reach some of the most challenging habitats on earth, where only the most ingenious and adaptable creatures survive. The Natural History Museum wanted to bring visitors into these spaces that are typically out of reach and so Jason Bruges Studio aimed to transport visitors into the deep ocean.

It designed a voxel of 1500 LEDs that recreate the magic of bioluminescence. At 500-1000 metres many sea creatures use light to hunt, hide, reproduce and survive. This phenomenon is imagined as a vast, immersive volume of light that is programmed to represent the different distinctive and unusual behaviours of animals that live in the some of the deepest darkest corners of our planet.

Life in the Dark is a boundary-pushing exhibition that explores innovative approaches to learning. Through three installations, Jason Bruges Studio demonstrates how light can be used creatively as an educational tool, revealing animation and diverse moments of theatre that mimic animal behaviours and engage children and adults with nature. The installations contribute elegant expressive forms of illumination that take people on a magical journey into the lives of creatures that live in the dark.

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