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Endless Possibilities Ahead 

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Image Details

Nicole A Banowetz


On display November 8–17 

Giant, glowing strands of algae emerge from the canal as this surreal, alien-like growth stretches out its tendrils toward viewers on the Waterfront. As humans we have infinite interactions with our natural environment every day. Often, we are unaware of how they create ripples in the world around us. Permutate encourages the viewer to have a collaborative interaction with the environment by rewarding thoughtful interaction with the installation. 

Permutate is a series of three inflatable sculptures, inspired by freshwater algae living in the Arizona Canal. It is sewn from black and white fabric and lit from the inside with more than 80 meters of LED strands. When the algae portions remain untouched, they pulse lime green, similar to the natural color of an algae bloom. As viewers touch them, tendrils of red and orange discoloration emanate from the points of contact, simulating a “toxic” effect. But as more people work together to thoughtfully engage with it, the colors transform to a brilliant turquoise. When viewers engage the right amount of touch points on the pieces on either side of the canal, an algae medallion hanging above the canal at Goldwater Bridge will reward them with a light show. 

This installation is a creative technology collaboration with Bryan Costanza. 

The Story of Water 

Humans have a complex relationship with algae. Filamentous algae can grow quickly, creating hair-like strands that cover the water. Algae is a part of the ecosystem and often serves as shelter or food sources for protozoans, insects, and fish. But if there are too many nutrients in the water from human-created pollutants—such as fertilizer runoff—then algae may bloom out of control, making the water unpleasant and even dangerous. Algae is one relationship that humans have with nature that often goes unnoticed, but if we are more aware, we can not only live in harmony with the algae, but also find positive interactions and innovations. Scientists are discovering many possibilities that involve using algal blooms to create green biofuel. The first step toward humans having positive collaborations with our environment is to be aware of how we can control our negative impacts and move toward positive innovations. 


Artist Talk 

Saturday, November 16, 2019, 5:00 – 5:30 p.m. | Free 

At Permutate, Northwest Canal
approximately: 7025 E. Via Soleri Drive, Scottsdale, AZ 85251 

Learn More



Nicole A Banowetz is a Denver-based artist who makes sewn, inflatable sculptures inspired by the natural world. She addresses human qualities while using the imagery she finds in the animal, plant, mineral, and bacterial worlds. Banowetz has made installations inspired by algae, bacteria, parasitic fungi, viruses, radiolaria, and rotifers—all recreated in soft, inflatable sculptures and sewn on her sewing machine. She has lived and worked internationally, showing installations with the Amsterdam Light Festival, the OpenArt biennial (Sweden), the Biennial of the Americas (Colorado), the Breckenridge International Festival (Colorado), Wonderspaces, the Denver Art Museum, Kids Awesome (Taipei), Norrköping Light Festival (Sweden), the Hong Kong Pulse Light Festival, and Barefoot Path (Finland). 

Bryan Costanza has a bachelor of science in aerospace engineering and has spent years teaching science and electronics classes. He is currently studying for a master of science in creative technologies and design at the University of Colorado Boulder to turn his technical background toward enabling art and design powered by technology. 



Social Media 

Facebook: @nicoleanonabanowetz 
Instagram: @nicolebanowetz 


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