Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Spectra - for seven nights in August in London

If you're in central London this week, you can see a new art installation which is on view for just seven nights.  Spectra is a column of intense white light punctuating the London sky from dusk until dawn for seven nights.

It's located in Victoria Tower Gardens, adjacent to the Palace of Westminster.  The installation has been created by Japanese artist Ryoji Ikeda.

spectra by Ryoji Ikeda, 2014,
view from Lambeth Bridge by Olivia Rutherford.
Commissioned and presented by Artangel,
co-commissioned by 14-18 NOW and the Mayor of London.
It appeared for the first time last night at 10pm - during the course of the national memorial service at Westminster Abbey - as part of the national commemorations marking the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War. It will fade from view for the last time as the sun rises in London on Monday 11 August.

The work is produced and presented by Artangel, and co-commissioned by the Mayor of London and 14-18 NOW, WW1 Centenary Art Commissions.  A series of artworks have been commissioned by 14-18 NOW for each of the UK’s four nations. Each work takes different forms of light or candles as their inspiration."

Last night it became the the symbolic candle lit at the door or in the window as the nationwide LIGHTS OUT initiative  too effect last night when people were supposed to switch off their lights in memory of all those that died in the First World War.
The light that spectra throws up into the night sky is a unifying point. It echoes how the First World War affected all Londoners, but also how they and the rest of the country came together, standing united during those dark days. As we mark the centenary and remember the devastation that the war brought to individuals and communities throughout our nation, this beacon reminds us of their heroism, but also of hope
Boris Johnson, Mayor of London
spectra by Ryoji Ikeda, 2014,
view from Waterloo Bridge by Jonathan Perugia.
Commissioned and presented by Artangel,
co-commissioned by 14-18 NOW and the Mayor of London.
LIGHTS OUT responds to a remark made by British statesman Viscount Grey on the outbreak of the First World War in 1914:
The lamps are going out all over Europe; we shall not see them lit again in our life-time
The source of spectra’s column of monumental light, visible across London, emanates from 49 high-powered static searchlights installed at Victoria Tower Gardens, adjacent to the River Thames, behind the House of Lords.

The work can be experienced throughout London by simply looking up to the sky

If you take time out to visit the Victoria Tower Gardens and walk within the installation, you can also experience an accompanying sound composition of pure sine waves.
  • Victoria Park Gardens are a public park located on the north bank of the River Thames. They are adjacent to the Victoria Tower on the south-west corner of the Palace of Westminster and extends to Lambeth Bridge. 
  • The nearest London Underground stations are Westminster and Pimlico.
  • Victoria Tower Gardens will be open 24 hours and spectra will be visible at night, between sunset and sunrise.  
  • Entry to the Victoria Tower Gardens is FREE but large numbers are expected and capacity will be managed
The installation has also been supported by the National Lottery through Arts Council England and the Heritage Lottery Fund. Presented with the kind support of The Royal Parks.

About the artist

This is the link to spectra on the artist's website
Ryoji Ikeda was born in Gifu, Japan in 1966. He lives and works in Paris. Ikeda is a leading electronic composer and visual artist, whose work focuses on the essential characteristics of sound itself and that of visuals as light by means of both mathematical precision and mathematical aesthetics. Ikeda has gained a reputation as one of the few international artists working across both visual and sonic media. He elaborately orchestrates sound, visuals, materials, physical phenomena and mathematical notions into immersive live performances and installations. Alongside pure musical activity, Ikeda has been working on a number of long-term projects including the series 'spectra' since 2001. spectra is a large-scale installation employing intense white light as a sculptural material and so transforming public locations in Amsterdam, Paris, Barcelona, Hobart and Nagoya.

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