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Undersea Lights Dazzle In Birch Aquarium's 'Infinity Cube'

Scripps Institution of Oceanography marine biologist Michael Latz (left) with artist Ivyone Khoo in an undated photo. Khoo worked with Latz to film bioluminescent creatures for her Infinity Cube exhibit at the Birch Aquarium.
Sandy Huffaker
Scripps Institution of Oceanography marine biologist Michael Latz (left) with artist Ivyone Khoo in an undated photo. Khoo worked with Latz to film bioluminescent creatures for her Infinity Cube exhibit at the Birch Aquarium.
Undersea Lights Dazzle In Birch Aquarium's 'Infinity Cube'
Undersea Lights Dazzle In Birch Aquarium's 'Infinity Cube' GUEST: Ivyone Khoo, artist, Infinity Cube Michael Latz, marine biologist, Scripps Institution of Oceanography

Over the next decade this will be replaced by hotels in an aquarium and open parkland and retail and several other things. This is also going to change the look and operation of tuna harbor. People looking at this is where the commercial fisherman are dog. Here is the developer explaining it. The differentiator for this site amongst the other great sites in the world in California is really the water. The issue of a working waterfront and working tuna harbor from everywhere from sports fishing to fisherman bring in and catch and landings and lobster and see urgent. And all the other fish that the catch in the area can be viewed think it is what makes it unique. It is the theater for our project. It's the authenticity of our project it is the grittiness of our project versus typical entertainment retail project which is more like Disneyland where everything is very clean and neat and choreographed. We hope this will be more of on authentic experience. You detail this in October with the story called in shadow seaport. What if you been doing for the last six months. After I wrote the story that abided -- invited me to meetings where they were working toward compromise on what the harbor will look like. They were pretty tense meetings at first the reason being that the cash they did not trust the developer as far as they could throw him. They are a naturally suspicious group of people but the idea of hotels and yachts did not make them happy. I began documenting it and starting today we will publish a series of stories about these changes but from different perspectives. Why is this so important. It's a good question because what I am hearing from several points of view is that this development could reignite what was once San Diego's claim to fame. For the late 19th and most of the 20th century San Diego was a fishing city. They were docked here and the canneries with line the seats downtown but then a bunch of things happened which I won't get into and it all went away. Many fishermen believe they can get back to those glory days of labor have the proper infrastructure in San Diego. He says he is willing to pump a whole lot of money into the harbor to make it a truly working waterfront and that's what they had to capitalize on that but they are outmatched. You have a fisherman coming up and summing it up in a -- in an interesting way. I'm going to try to bluff him. How long do you think that level work. Somebody is so much bigger than you are he pretty much does not even have to listen to you. The fact that he's listening is a good thing but is he listening or just checking off a box and listening to the fisherman. The two sides have agreed on a plan for tuna harbor and they will be presented at next month and is a long journey ahead with lawsuits but we will follow it. To read more on the seaport development go to I news Now you updated forecasts Over the upcoming weekend we will result in some coverage Easter on Sunday. The inland areas to clean up low to mid 70s as we continue to Thursday early clouds will continue in the afternoon and gusty winds will had a 40 to 45 miles per hour. Clouds will increase Thursday night and along the upper 40s for areas. Sunshine Saturday and Sunday and high temperatures for inland areas. We have

Step inside the translucent 8-foot box at the Birch Aquarium in La Jolla, and at first all you see is darkness. But quickly, you are surrounded by pulsating blue lights.

The overlapping videos in the Birch's "Infinity Cube" exhibit are of dinoflagellates, single-celled, bioluminescent organisms. That means they naturally emit light as part of a chemical reaction. The Infinity Cube's creator, artist Ivyone Khoo, said she was inspired by what she saw one dark night at a turtle sanctuary in Mexico.

"I could see the Milky Way and the infinite amount of stars above me. And there was a bloom, so the bioluminescent wave was just crashing onto the beach," Khoo said. "That was the moment I realized (there was) the microcosm and the macrocosm, and there’s me right there in the middle."


Khoo collaborated with Scripps Institution of Oceanography marine biologist Michael Latz, filming the dinoflagellates in his lab responding to various stimuli including the sound of a human heartbeat. Latz studies bioluminescence and has had an artist-in-residence program for more than a decade.

"My goal is to find innovative ways to communicate science. We can lapse into jargon and technicalities," Latz said. "I’m really fortunate that I study a beautiful expression of nature, expressed from microscopic organisms to jellyfish and squid."

Khoo and Latz joined KPBS Midday Edition on Wednesday to discuss creating the Infinity Cube and why underwater creatures give off light.