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Immersive installation that combines light, sound and movement opens at Barbican
United Visual Artists: Momentum. The Curve, Barbican Centre 13 February – 1 June 2014. Installation images© Bethany Clark/Getty Images/Courtesy Barbican Art Gallery.
LONDON.- Barbican has commissioned the multi-disciplinary art and design studio United Visual Artists to create a new work for the Curve. Coinciding with their 10th anniversary, UVA present Momentum, an immersive installation that combines light, sound and movement. Drawing on physics and digital technology, UVA are turning the Curve into a spatial instrument, installing a sequence of pendulum-like elements throughout the 90metre long gallery to create an evolving composition of light and sound. The pendulums – sometimes moving in unexpected ways – project shadows and planes of light across the 6metre-high walls and curved floor of the space. Visitors are invited to explore the room at their own pace, and their movement through the gallery shapes their individual experience. United Visual Artists: Momentum opens in The Curve on 13 February 2014.

UVA said: “Our internal model of time, movement, mass and space is based on a lifetime of experience, perhaps even genetically encoded. What happens when we build a new model? What happens when we bend the rules?

United Visual Artists (UVA) is an art practice that use design processes to combine a wide range of disciplines including sculpture, installation, live performance, and architecture. The studio has an open approach to collaboration, uniting diverse skills to continuously evolve new technologies and materials, which in turn suggest new artistic directions. UVA's lines of enquiry include the tension between real and synthesised experiences - the questioning of our relationship with technology, and the creation of phenomena that transcend the purely physical. In all their work, they aim to distill complexity down to its essence. Based in London, UVA was founded in 2003 by Matthew Clark, Chris Bird and Ash Nehru.

UVA’s installations consider each space an immersive environment where the visitor’s point of view plays an important role in the outcome. In High Arctic, 2011, visitors were invited to explore a vast abstracted arctic landscape made with sculptures, light and sound, in a monument to an Arctic past. Similarly, their installation Volume, the first commission for the John Madjeski Garden at the V&A Museum in 2006 transformed the space over the dark winter months. Audiences immersed themselves in a field of luminous, sound-emitting columns that responded to visitors’ movements to create an immersive, constantly shifting visual and musical experience.

Jane Alison, Head of Visual Arts, Barbican, said, “Combining sophisticated research-led technology with a minimal aesthetic, UVA are known for site specific works of great beauty and clarity, in which the visitor is always an active participant. We are delighted to present Momentum, our first pure light and sound installation in the Curve.”

UVA has been commissioned by Artwise Curators, The Creators Project, La Gaite Lyrique, National Maritime Museum, Opera North, Royal Academy of Arts, Victoria & Albert Museum and YCAM Japan.

Their work has been exhibited at institutions and galleries including the South Bank Centre, the Wellcome Collection Durham and The British Library. Internationally UVA have shown in Barcelona, Beijing, Hong Kong, Melbourne, New York, Paris, São Paulo, St. Petersburg, Taipei and Tokyo. Their designs for live performance have led to commissions for venues such as the Tate Modern Turbine Hall, Serpentine Gallery and Madison Square Garden in New York. In 2007, UVA’s responsive light and sound sculpture Volume won a yellow pencil at the D&AD awards, and featured in the London Design Museum’s ‘Design of the Year’ show in 2008. Speed of Light was nominated for ‘Design of the Year’ in 2010, and High Arctic nominated in 2011. UVA were awarded a distinction for their kinetic installation Chorus at the 2010 edition of Prix Arts Electronica. In 2011, Speed of Light was awarded a Creative Review Annual and listed in the Annual as ‘Best in Book’. UVA are currently working on a solo show at the Towner Gallery Eastbourne which opens in April 2014.



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