BRUCE MUNRO’S WATER-TOWERS - CONTEMPORARY LIGHT AND SOUND ARTWORK IN CATHEDRAL CLOISTERS 15 JANUARY - 27 FEBRUARYIssued Friday 14th January 2011
View our Water-Towers page, with installation images, YouTube clip and much more.
NOTE: Water-Towers should be viewed at dusk or during darkness in order to properly see and appreciate the lights.
Late evening viewings: The Cathedral and cloisters will be open until 8pm on a number of evenings during this period to give visitors an extra chance to enjoy the installations during the hours of darkness.
Sunday 23 January (Cloisters only: The Epiphany Procession takes place in the Cathedral from 7pm – 8.15pm)
Sunday 30 January
Friday 4 February
Saturday 5 February
Thursday 10 February
Monday 14 February (Cloisters only) Friday 18 February
Friday 25 February
Saturday 26 February
Other dates may be added to this page at short notice
Water-Towers, Bruce Munro’s newest light and sound installation, opened in Salisbury Cathedral’s medieval cloisters on Saturday 15 January. Visitors experience sound magically translated into light and colour as sixty-nine glowing towers, made from 15,000 stacked recyclable water bottles, illuminated with fibre optics and specially commissioned LED projectors, change colour to selected music.
Water-Towers is located in the South and West cloisters with visitors encouraged to walk through the installation. A custom designed control system with sound reactive projectors responds to the soundtrack playing continuously to visitors as they wander through the maze of towers, reflecting the music that has infused the building for over 750 years and translating it into light.
And, when viewed from the North and East cloisters, the stone arches of the cloisters become three dimensional frames for the ‘son et lumiere’ maze of Water-Towers.
Water-Towers can be seen together with Bruce’s Munro’s Light Shower, which drew gasps when it was first switched on in the Cathedral Nave during November. Munro’s installations at Salisbury came following a call from the cathedral’s Visual Arts Advisor, Jacquiline Creswell. “I developed the first concepts for Water-Towers in 2004 and was really inspired by a beautiful book on synesthesia I read in my twenties. It’s that magical sensory blend where people are able to ‘see’ sound as colour and I think it works particularly well in this setting. Late afternoon and evening are undoubtedly the best times to appreciate it.”
Mark Bonney, Chairman of the Cathedral’s Exhibitions Advisory Committee, said “It’s very exciting seeing Water-Towers being installed here by Bruce’s team, and we already feel a strong sense of the multi-sensory experience awaiting visitors when they walk through the maze of towers. Thousands of people have already seen and admired Bruce’s magical Light Shower installation and his high quality and creative visual works undoubtedly add a further dimension to a visit to our beautiful medieval building.”
Bruce Munro added, “In a sense I feel I am paying homage to all those wonderful artisans who worked to build the Cathedral. Simply said it’s a great privilege to create something for this great space”.
Canon Treasurer Mark Bonney, chairman of Salisbury Cathedral’s Exhibitions Advisory Committee on Bruce Munro at Salisbury Cathedral
"One of the exciting aspects of Salisbury Cathedral is how its unique ‘feel’ and iconic status triggers many and varied responses in people, not least amongst sculptors and artists. Bruce Munro’s two light installations have been especially created to be shown in the Cathedral and we are thrilled with the inventiveness and imagination that they show.
"We are very grateful to Jacquiline Creswell, our Visual Arts Advisor, who approached Bruce and facilitated such a successful collaboration. A few months ago I visited Bruce’s workshops to see the work in preparation and was caught up in the tremendous enthusiasm he has for his work and for this exhibition.
"One of the things I find particularly striking is the contrast between the two installations, though both are so admirably suited to their spaces. Light Shower has been very well received since it was first seen at the end of November – as well as being so beautiful in its own right, it also enhances the architecture by articulating a critical part of the Cathedral in a new way. Similarly, it has complimented our liturgical use of the spire crossing space (although that was never part of the brief!)
"Water-Towers is completely different yet still makes imaginative use of the architectural space, setting the towers against the arches of the cloisters. The cloisters are spaces to walk through and reflect in, something which this installation encourages and thus gives us fresh insights on the familiar.
"I do hope that you enjoy these installations."
• 69,000 metres of optic fibre threaded through 69 towers each built from 216 x 2 litre water bottles.
• 15,000 recyclable plastic water bottles
• Total weight of water – 30 tons
• 1,100 man hours to create and install Water-Towers
Water is a recurring theme in Munro’s work and it’s fitting that he should be creating Water-Towers in Salisbury, a town built at the confluence of five rivers. Water is an important symbol within Christianity - the cathedral’s font, created by William Pye and installed in 2008, flows constantly with overflowing water. Eventually the water filling the 15,000 bottles will be poured back into the ground around the Cathedral.
Water-Towers is ecologically thoughtful in that it’s made of simple materials and lit with the latest energy-efficient LED lighting technology. One 5 watt LED project will light the optical fibres for each tower with the entire installation using less electricity than a domestic kitchen. It’s important to Bruce Munro that he is responsible to the environment and he likes using simple materials, in this case plastic bottles, water, and laser cut OSB board. The 15,000 plastic bottles will be recycled.
Bruce Munro recently exhibited at ‘Contemplating the Void’ at the Guggenheim in New York. Versions of his acclaimed Field of Light was seen at “Brilliant” Victoria & Albert Museum 2006 and Eden Project in 2008/9. www.brucemunro.co.uk
Salisbury Cathedral is already rich in contemporary artworks including pieces by Elisabeth Frink, Gabriel Loire, William Pye and Emily Young. The Cathedral welcomes visitors every day from 9am to 6pm. If you are visiting on a Sunday, recommended viewing times are 12.00noon – 2.30pm or after 4.00pm (services are held at 8.00am, 9.15am, 10.30am and 3.00pm).