En’Light’en is a research and development project uniting artistic practice with, scientists, academics, architects and health professionals. The project focus is the positive therapeutic impact of natural lighting phenomena on human experience and the artistic interpretation and simulation of such phenomena within architecture.
Funded by the Arts Council and supported by Durham University, the project is allowing time away from commissioned work to explore ideas around this exciting theme and to create new work to be installed in a number of settings. The aim is to observe and record how the works impact the spaces they inhabit and to invite reponses and observations from those experiencing them. People are invited to docment their observations and feed them back to me using questionnaires made available at the various venues. This is providing first hand evaluations of observations and felt experiences of the works. So often, in the public art commission process, works are completed and installed and artists do not get the opportunity to explore how those living with the works over time experience them and how they feel about them. This project is providing valuable insight into the specific aspects of the works that people notice and respond to.
As previously posted, the project launch took place in May 2016 at Cheeseburn Sculpture Park in Northumberland where I transformed the Hayloft with a temporary installation of glass, light and colour. Following this, in July I created a glass and steel installation in the ancient Yew tree at Cheeseburn and I am in the process of gathering observations of how this piece responds to the particular setting. Joanna Riddell and Matthew Jarratt of Cheeseburn, are very supportive of the En’Light’en project and questionnaires have been made available to visitors, inviting responses to the work. Possibilities for further temporary installations over the coming months are also being explored.
In addition to my own investigations, scientists and academics at Durham University are evaluating and recording how peoples experience of a space can be changed through the installation of such light modulating works. Using a range of methods, they will bring further evaluation of these various experiences from a range of academic perspectives. Over the summer we identified venues within the University in which we intend to change the light experience in some way. Following temporary installation, the experience of students and staff will be recorded and evaluated. After installation within the University, we intend to install works at further venues across the region, incuding a hospice and a hospital. Meetings with key individuals are currently underway in the planning of these future installations.
Working with architects JDDK, I am investigating the general quality of light in architectural spaces and how this is designed and experienced. The department of physics at Durham University, along with mechanical and electrical engineers are able to measure the existing light levels of a selected space and how this light is altered. This will inform future installations and their evaluation.
Experimental work in the studio continues and I am using new materials and methods of filtering and reflecting both natural and electrical light sources. Inspired directly by nature and the wonder we feel when, for example, witnessing a breath taking sunrise or dappled light through trees, I am creating forms and structures that positively impact spaces and our senses. Transience; changeability; multi-facetted; naturally fluctuating – all are themes I am exploring in the creation of these experimental pieces. This research is informing the design of an adaptive, mobile work which will be temporarily installed in selected venues during the course of the project.
A recent a-n Bursary for professional development has enabled me to increase my skills in architectural model making and CAD visualisation. This is proving invaluable in the of exploration of ideas for the En’Light’en project. See the project blog here:
The weekend of 27th-29th August, Cheeseburn Sculpture Park opens again with another chance to see ‘En-Lighten: Taxus Baccata’ – a sculpture of steel and dichroic glass suspended in the ancient Yew tree. Amazing reflections and light patterns constantly change during the day as the form responds to altering weather conditions and the varying light levels during the course of a day. As part of this on going project, further glass elements will be placed at various sites within the park and visitors will be invited to observe the works and contribute their thoughts on their impact and on the general theme of ‘light’.