Momentum – Light Art in Motion

There is a fantastic light exhibition at the Barbican Centre that I recently went to see. The United Visual Artists has transformed the Curve exhibition hall for their light installation Momentum. The semi-circular, long corridor and high ceiling of the Curve is completely in darkness except for twelve pendulums that in different ways light up the vast space. The pendulums, specially designed for the installation, have two light sources which alters the way the pendulums emit light. In addition, the pendulums move in alternating rhythms and patterns that create different light patterns within the space. It is really mesmerising to watch the light as it changes patterns and rhythms, and how that in turn, changes the patterns of light and how you perceive the space. Momentum also has specially composed music that is in tune with the pendulums movements. I would perhaps call it sounds rather than music but it does enhance the experience by creating associations and depth.
If you have a chance, this is one exhibition you should try to catch. It’s open until June 1, 2014.

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Resistance

I wrote this poem early in the year but it still seems to hold true to my life right now. When life changes a little too quickly for comfort, decisions suddenly seem even harder than at other times.

The poem is one of the first that I have ever tried to translate. Although I communicate in two languages, I prefer to stick with one language at a time. Lately, I found an interesting way that quickly lets me translate my texts, so perhaps, my writing will, at least, hereby be more bi-lingual.

Resistance
I know what I want
but it takes me way
from things I love.
One part is pulling away
towards new adventures
new places, a new life.
One part anxious and worried
for the things that will be missed,
the things I won’t be there for,
the old, the familiar – treasures.
Dreams and fears intertwined,
pushing and pulling on my mind.
To take a leap into vast space
or to crawl into familiar corners

Motstånd
Jag vet vad jag vill
men det tar mig bort
ifrån saker jag älskar.
En del drar mot nya äventyr,
nya platser, ett nytt liv.
En del ängslig och orolig
för det som kommer att saknas,
det jag inte kommer att vara där för,
de gamla, det välbekanta, det ovärderliga.
Drömmar och rädslor flätas samman,
drar och sliter på mitt sinne.
Att ta ett språng ut i den stora rymden
eller att krypa in i välbekanta utrymmen

James Turrell and Old Lanterns

This week I visited my first James Turrell art exhibition. I knew of James Turrell as one of the important light artists one ought to pay homage to. Turrell, from the US, has since 1967 used light and space to explore perception. He believes that we live in a reality of our own creation that is limited by the senses as well as contextual and cultural norms. His only medium is light, which according to his website, make you look at yourself looking. The current exhibition at Pace Gallery has four installations from the Wide Glass and Tall Glass series. The installations are diffused, recessed boxes with coloured light that shifts colour and light intensity. I must confess that this kind of art does not really speak to me. I don’t really get it. At the same time, sitting down in the rooms to merely watch the colours, letting associations come to you, is really meditative. I found it very relaxing and calming. It did bring associations of space, the universe, timelessness, and Turrell is said to be inspired by astronomy. It is a different experience and everyone will have different associations when faced with Turrell’s art.

A theme this week has been older lanterns. I first encountered one that is clearly in poor condition. A note to everyone, a glass cover, to any kind of light, should never be half-filled with rain water. I do wonder about the safety of that lantern. Beautiful and functioning lanterns can be found at the Royal Arcade. I love these and the interior. The colour scheme is fantastic. I also like the repetitive pattern that both the interior and the lanterns create to the space. It makes the arcade look grander than it really is. Skylights contribute with a soft daylight. Old pretty lanterns can also be made fun, like the one I found outside a pub. Can you guess the theme of the pub?

In keeping with the theme of old lights, I often walk along South Bank and I love the heritage luminaires along the bank. I finally managed to take a few pictures of what they really look like. There are so many nice little details on there. And the light at night is very pleasant. As seen in one of the pictures, these lights, too, create a repetitive pattern.

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James Turrell, Sensing Thought

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James Turrell, Sojourn

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Malfunctioning street light by South Bank

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Rows of lanterns at Royal Arcade

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Shelock on a lantern

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Rows of heritage luminaires at South Bank

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Heritage luminaire up close

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Good Old Jane Austen

Since last I wrote, I have had the pleasure of reading new material from one of my all-time favourite authors – Jane Austen. As I think I have stated here before, I love her ability to capture her time and write about the experiences of the people around her, however fictional. I read all of the classical novels by Austen in my late teens and they are books, and indeed movie adaptations, I often return to. To my surprise I recently found a collection of her short-stories that I had not seen in print before. Love and Friendship, published by Hesperus Press, consists of two short-stories and a collection of letters. Those of you who have seen the 1999 version of Mansfield Park directed by Patricia Rozema would recognize some of Fanny’s writing, as that of Jane’s short-stories and letters. The short-story Love and Friendship, I didn’t care for. It is very silly and over-exaggerated. It does foreshadow Northanger Abbey where the heroine is also very young and silly. The second novel Three Sisters is an interesting piece about marrying for money and status, something that I would think is not uncommon even in today’s society. The letters are the real treat. They are little moments in time, centred on some dilemma the letter writer has encountered.

In the world of lighting, I encountered some funky, old luminaires when visiting Hampstead Heath and Kenwood House. I love these old things. They are made to look pretty on their own and in their environment, not just to give light. I confess I like this a lot, despite that the light they give off is not necessarily beneficial or effective.

Effective and pretty on the other hand is the lighting in Baker Street tube station. I assume that once upon a time there was daylight at the station but now, at least the illusion of it, is very appealing. It looks like it is midday on a sunny summer’s day but the photos were taken at 5 a.m. in the morning in February. I also like the old style suspended luminaires. Together with the brick and the old style benches, you could almost imagine Sherlock Holmes walking by.

I have also seen an amazing photo exhibition at the National Theatre. What does that have to do with books or with light? Well, the photos are so amazing because the light is handled with such finesse. Cornel Lucas took portrait photos of Hollywood stars. Most of the photos are close ups, high in contrast with a blurry background (if any real background at all). Each photo really captures the person, as if you are looking into their soul. I was trying to figure out why I liked the photos and realized it was the light in them that made both subject and photo interesting. Exhibition will be open until March 29.

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Park light outside of Kenwood house

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Suspended luminaire outside the entrance to Kenwood House

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Baker Streer tube station at 5 a.m.

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Baker street tube station

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Photo Noir exhibition with photos by Cornel Lucas at National Theatre