Submitted by Paper Sun Lightsculpture

Client: San Diego International Airport - Art Program

Location: San Diego, CA, United States

Completion date: 2011

Artwork budget: $25,000

Project Team


Nathan Harrenstein

Industry Resource

Lisa & Chris Isaacson

Numibnous / NuLED


This installation was the artist’s interpretation of what life might be like on one of Jupiter’s moons, Europa, which is known to contain liquid water under its icy crust. Seven LightSculptures, made of thin strips of wood and many layers of tissue paper saturated with polyvinyl resin, averaging 6 ft diameter with color changing LED’s, represent the possibility of bio-luminescent creatures living under water. The display was in the “Portrait Corridor” in Terminal Two of the San Diego Airport where it remained for 6 months before being shown in the Oceanside Museum of Art, including additional pieces.


The project was located in an empty, dark corridor between arrival gates and baggage claim, providing weary travelers with a brief but mesmerizing respite from the rigors of travel, and a little science lesson. The main consideration was to set the color changing LEDs to a very slow pace and have the art installation at a safe distance from passengers reach.


While the director of the Art Program allowed the artist and his collaborators complete freedom in the concept and design, the installation had to comply with strict security and safety requirements of the facility.

Additional Information

Creating imaginative variations of extra-terrestrial bio-luminescence life has been a lifelong dream of artist William Leslie.