The installation of Bruce Munro
s Water-Towers has begun, and work is in progress on his second contemporary artwork at Salisbury Cathedral, situated along two entire sides of the ancient cloister.
16,000 water bottles (large 2 Lt size) have been supplied by Cott Beverages, suppliers to Tesco, and thanks are due to Jamie Feeley and particularly Sophie Dungworth for their help in ensuring they arrive through inclement weather and other challenges.
Today Munros team began lacing 69,000 meters of optic fibre through the bottles. Each of the 69 towers will be built of 216 bottles containing a total of 30 tons of water, and together they will form a huge maze which changes colour in an offset pattern to a musical score.
The Cloisters were built between 1240 and 1270. Water-Towers will remain in place for two months, alongside Munros Light Shower which cascades from the high in the spire crossing within the Cathedral, and both artworks will be disbanded on 27th February.
Munros installations at Salisbury came about following a call from the Cathedrals Visual Arts Advisor, Jacquiline Cresswell. Art historian and broadcaster Dr Richard Cork will open the exhibition with a private champagne reception hosted by the Cathedral on 14th January.
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: its that magical sensory blend where people are able to see sound as colour.
When viewed from the other side of the cloisters the stone arches in silhouette will become animated with colour, like stained glass windows. As a young chorister, I remember being captivated by sunlight splashing colours onto the white-washed walls of our school chapel. I hope that Water-Towers at Salisbury will evoke something of the awe I felt by such simple but dramatic lighting effects.
A custom designed control system with sound reactive projectors will respond to a soundtrack of the Salisbury Choir, played to visitors (via discreetly placed speakers) as they wander through the maze, reflecting the sounds that have infused this building for 750 years - and translating them into light.
Water is a recurring theme in Munros work - and its fitting that he should be creating Water-Towers in Salisbury, a town built at the confluence of five rivers. Eventually the water filling the 16,000 bottles will be poured back into the ground around the Cathedral.
Water-Towers is ecologically thoughtful in that its made of simple materials and lit with the latest energy-efficient LED lighting technology. One 5 Watt LED projector will light the optical fibers for each tower. It's important to Munro to be responsible to the environment, and he likes using simple materials: in this case plastic bottles, water, and laser cut OSB board.
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, says Bruce Munro.