Passage Entrance to the Playhouse Arts Centre –
Light Project Prototype II
Gallery 2 (process room) –
Light Project Prototype I
Previews Saturday 25th February @ 8pm
Prototype I runs until 11th March
Prototype II runs until 31st March
A public artwork sited in the passage entrance to the Playhouse Theatre:
also a full process room in Gallery Two devoted to the development of the work, and its prototypes.
Emma Donaldson works with a range of media including drawing, object making, sound work, video and writing. She is from Armagh, studied at Wimbledon School of Art, The Royal College of Art and graduated from the Architectural Association in 1996. She has exhibited in Europe and America, and developed three projects with Context Galleries since 2001.
The Light Project evolves from the artist’s interests in her experience of ‘environment’, that is where she lived, where she worked, where she socialised, where she walked etc. She considers that our daily lives in environments such as these are managed by invisible yet powerful systems that govern our behaviour. For example we these days would find it very difficult to get by without the electrical systems that control everything from our alarm clock to our banking. But we have little or no control of these systems which are often owned by government, conglomerate or other private enterprise. Even our memories depend upon patterns governing our activity in the past e.g. commercial, cultural, political or technological trends. Also how we see the past depends on the systems that manage our lives now. The Light Project represent the movement or pattern of these systems; in particular in this instance simulating the usage of electricity and water in the Playhouse thus reflecting the work and leisure patterns of those who work in and use the building.
Prototype I (Gallery 2)
Prototype I is made up of two shapes. Both are made of plywood and covered in paper. One is spherical and has a circle of red coloured 60 watt lamps fitted in a spherical shape set within it. The other is tablet shaped and contains blue coloured 60 watt lamps. The paper covering is a pattern paper commonly used in the garment industry.
Prototype II (Entrance Passageway)
Prototype II is made from stainless steel and is covered by a woven lyrca fabric often used for women’s underwear. This fabric covers a series of lamps, connected to a sensor itself connected to the electricity and water supply of the building enabling the Prototype II lamps to signal Louis Macneice’s ‘Autobiography’ and Samuel Beckett’s ‘Brief Dream’ poems in Morse Code (see below for translation). Morse Code was a system devised by Samuel Morse consisting of dots and dashes representing the different letters of the alphabet so that messages can be sent either by lamp or wireless. The artist is interested in the rhythms of these poems as much as she is in their themes, which explore the effect of Macneice’s mother’s death upon the poet (‘Autobiography’) and a dream world where anything is possible (‘Brief Dream’). When the usage of water or electricity increases the speed of the Morse Code signal also increases. Conversely when usage decreases the signal slows down.
Autobiography (Louis MacNeice)
My father made the walls resound,/He wore his collar the wrong way round./When I was five the black dreams came/Nothing after was quite the same./When I woke they did not care;/Nobody, nobody was there./In my childhood trees were green/And there was plenty to be seen./When my silent terror cried,/Nobody, nobody replied./I got up; the chilly sun/ Saw me walk away alone./My mother wore a yellow dress;/Gentle, gently, gentleness./The dark was talking to the dead/The lamp was dark beside my bed./Come back early or never come./Come back early or never come./Come back early or never come./Come back early or never come./Come back early or never come./Come back early or never come./Come back early or never come./Come back early or never come.
Brief Dream (Samuel Beckett)
go end there/one fine day/where never till then/till as much as to say/no matter where/no matter when
Light Project Prototype #2: from the artist’s proposal:
As a sculptural installation the Light Project incorporates within its performance a ‘replaying’ of the situation occurring in the host gallery building. The sculpture exists as two coloured spherical shapes suspended from the ceiling. Within each suspended structure is a ring of lamps projecting outwards to function as signals. These lamps are programmed to deliver, by way of Morse Code, the poetry of Samuel Beckett’s ‘Brief Dream’ and Louis Macneice’s ‘Autobiography’. Where the Light project stretches the parameter of site–specific and responsive sculpture is in its connection to the essential services of mains electricity and main water supplies maintaining, administrating and enabling the gallery to provide a public service. These services are monitored, measured and fed back into the computer managing the Morse signals and, when demands on these services change the speed of the lamp signals will change accordingly. The project aims to sustain the significance of the artwork for the public and should be understood as both experimental and a beginning.