Shimmering lights reflected in the calm water draw you in, inviting you to step in another dimension and seducing you senses.At night,after the sun has set, when the lights begin to glow and the starry sky appears to be reflected on the ground, a variety of colours guide your way on a different kind of path.
Bruce Munro took his time before he went public with his art, but finally he managed to impress everyone in the art world.”Light: Installations by Bruce Munro” is extended over 23 acres of Longwood Gardens, just outside of Philadelphia and is a display of a 12 installations and sculpture set designed from 235 miles of fiber-optic cable.
Field of Light was originally conceived fifteen years ago, when Bruce Munro took a trip through central Australia. The field of light installation was one idea that landed in Bruce’s sketch book and stuck with him.
The largest installation is entitled Forest of Light and covers the garden of white oak, sugar maple, and tulip trees with 20,000 crystal globes standing on acrylic rods. A cable runs from each globe back to one of a set of 80 halogen projectors that shine light through a rotating series of hand-painted slides. When night falls, the orbs illuminate ,transforming the space into a sea of changing colors .
A second one, called Water Towers, laser-cut wood layers hold together 69 stacks of 252 one-liter bottles scattered in a meadow. The fiber-optic cable links each tower’s bottles to a low-voltage LED projector. The projector changes colors in response to music by choral group The Shout.
In many installations, says Munro, “we use a lot of halogen and metal halide lights, which can be a lot brighter. I wanted this one to be soft and almost glowing. Each of these projectors inside these towers is calibrated to interpret the sound slightly differently, so it’s rather like you’ve got 69 voices. And as the music plays you do get these rhythms of light, but you have to sit there for a while to get it.”
“The technology is pretty old and simple,” Munro admits.
“Designers tend to grab hold of what is new. I always feel that you should leave what’s new well alone until it’s been well and truly put through its paces, been tried and tested. I always look at things and then I revisit them and ask, ‘What if I did this with it?’ It’s rather like being a musician, I guess. You spend your life learning to play an instrument and then you have to unpick it to play discords. I believe you have to play the harmonies before you can play the discords.”
“I would wake up in the middle of the night and people would have come and turned the lights on,” says Munro. “I took a huge risk in doing it. By the end of it I had lost an arm and a leg in financial terms. My wife was saying, ‘What are you doing?’ In fact I put a sign in the field saying ‘please turn the lights off when you’re finished.’”
Photo courtesy to Bruce Munro