The launch of this project was marked by two installations at Cheesburn Sculpture Park, Northumberland. The first – ‘En’Light’en: Hayloft’, May 2016, was a temporary installation of dichroic glass which transformed the space above the stables into a spectrum of projected light and colour. The second is entitled ‘En’Light’en: Taxus Baccata’ and is a suspended sculpture in an ancient yew tree. Both works bring light into the darkened spaces they inhabit and invite public response to the experience. During the Leverhulme residency a further installation at Cheeseburn took place in May 2017 and this along with images of work associated with the project was exhibited from May – September 2017.
Following success of the on-going light and projection installations in critical care, this week I met with natural sound recordist, Geoff Sample and Bennett Hogg from the Department of Music at Newcastle University. We met with Dr Edel McCauley and experimented with natural sounds in the large atrium of the south entrance of the hospital.
This work builds upon a collaboration last year with sound recordist, Mike Challis, with our aim of bringing sounds from the natural world in to the hospital environment. We worked beneath my dichroic glass and light installation in the large atrium area and tried a range of sounds including piano music and natural sounds, including the sea and a running stream.
The site visit was successful in locating positions for speakers to create subtle sound experiences and there was a lot of interest from visitors and staff passing through the atrium. It was amazing to hear, for the first time, birds singing in the hospital! We will be refining our ideas and aim to create a sound installation in the atrium for a two week period in March 2019.
A light installation has been installed in critical care which creates an ambient light effect. It starts the day with a sunrise and changes throughout the day, ending in the warm light of sunset. This has received very positive responses from patients and staff. The installation will be extended next week so that others in the unit can benefit from this dynamic light effect. I also intalled a projector with a library of uploaded imagery and videos offering new views and a link to the outside world. Over the next months I will extend the installlations and explore their beneficial effects, seeking feedback from staff, patients and visitors.
This week, Dr Paul Chazot and I presented the project at the North of England Critical Care Network’s Annual Conference. We met consultants, doctors, nurses and others on the front line of critical care. Our ideas were very well received – the need for light, colour and beauty – a humanising influence on this stark clinical environment. I am working with a long stay patient in ICU and will be installing light and projected imagery very soon…
I am delighted to have received Arts Council funding to create new work exploring the theme of the ‘dynamic environment’. This work will extend the ‘En’Light’en’ project to address new areas including the challenging critical care environment. The first stage of work is underway and in August/September I created new work exhibited as part of the ‘Northern Glass Innovations’ Exhibiton, at 36 Lime Street, Newcastle upon Tyne. This formed part of programme of events organised for The Great Exhibition of the North and attracted hundreds of visitors. I used the technique of waterjet cutting to create new forms in light responsive glass and transformed the gallery space with light and colour. Over the next few months I will be creating a range of installations designed to alter the atmosphere of spaces using light, sound and projection.
For patients in intensive care and HDU, the environment can be frightening and disorientating. Sense of time disappears and without a view out, any connection to life outdoors and weather conditions is hard to maintain. This week at James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough we met with patients, staff and relatives who generously shared their experiences of the critical care environment and of delirium. The importance of environment, sound and the view from hospital bed was stressed by all. The next stage of the En’Light’en project will focus on critical care and whether the creative application of light and imagery (view) can bring a sense of connection and orientation to patients, staff and relatives who spend hours, days, weeks and, for some, years in this stressful environment.