A glowing army in Hamburg, Germany

In the wake of the Japan’s tsunami and subsequent nuclear meltdown disasters, people were extra skittish about the threat of radioactive poisoning (especially Lindsay Lohan, who promptly evacuated herself from Los Angeles even though her hair already looks like a victim of toxic fallout). To poke fun at our paranoia, art collective Luzinterruptus installed 100 “radioactive” figures in a field outside Hamburg’s Dockville Festival. The effect is surprisingly eerie, each figure outfitted in protective white clothing and lit from within. With their heads pointed at the ground, it appears to be a giant alien army advancing from the forest.

Luzinterruptus is famous for its elaborate lighting installations (in particular, a gorgeous display with thousands of floating, illuminated recycling bags in Poland, meant to encourage citizens – who aren’t legally required to recycle – to get real). By far, though, the radioactive army is its most affecting project to date, not only because the subject matter is more serious but because the visual is so well conceived. There is something truly ominous about these glowing soldiers, particularly because the soft, plastic material they’re made from can sway in the breeze, sometimes creating unnervingly life-like gestures. According to the group’s website, the aim of the project was “to simulate for the festival a life under the constant threat of nuclear accidents.”

Alas, the installation was disassembled at the end of the festival, so we’ll all just have to wait with bated breath for the next disaster or political scandal to inspire some glowy Stateside project.