Light emerald moth in phototaxic limbo



This project engages with phototaxis - the tendency of organisms to gravitate towards light.


Nocturnal insects depend on darkness and small amounts of natural light from the moon and stars for navigation, to escape predators, seek food and reproduce. However, when exposed to vast amounts of artificial lights, such insects are diverted from their natural trajectories and removed from their environments. As a result, they die from exhaustion, become easy prey or simply get burnt; light is an irresistible and lethal force. 

This project explored this condition, through the design of a nocturnal insect lantern. Insects are attracted and drawn in by a UV light, but instead of becoming prey or being burnt alive, a thick lattice structure prevents access and provides them with temporary shelter. The insects are kept in state of phototaxic limbo; constantly drawn in, yet at the same time prevented from reaching the source. As the lantern becomes inhabited and  animated, mysterious night time creatures that are usually hidden from our sight and consciousness, are revealed.  

Assembled Lantern

Exploded lantern elements

Light Scaffolds Raphael fogel night time nucturnal insect UV lantern light phototaxis london 3d printing digital design network paricle lattice structure deep Moth

Ladybird beetle within the scaffolds


Large scale lantern concept


Large scale lantern concept- up close


Large scale lantern concept- detail