Silver Linings -The Beaney Kaleidoscopes

Eight kaleidoscopes engineered from aluminium
The Beaney, House of Art & Knowledge, Canterbury, 2012
Commissioned by Canterbury City Council and Kent County Council 

Silver Linings is a permanent installation comprising of eight bespoke kaleidoscopes which have been embedded in the refurbished building of The Beaney, through walls, library shelving and the museum’s explorer points.  Each kaleidoscope has its own tiny curated glass case filled with particles that depict objects, patterns and colours within the museum’s collections. When the eye piece of the kaleidoscope is rotated a myriad of particles float past and scatter into infinite kaleidoscope arrays mixed with fragmented views of the room and exhibits beyond.

We produced two designs for the kaleidoscopes – a stand alone kaleidoscope that can be fitted to horizontal surfaces and a larger one, which is designed to fit through the walls of the museum. The kaleidoscopes are engineered from aluminium with a hard anodised finish. Each contains a front-silvered mirrored chamber and a silicone filled glass particle chamber.

The individual particles within these chambers have been inspired by the objects and architecture found within the museum. Drawings and photographs of the Beaney’s exhibits have been replicated as tiny miniature drawings photo etched from very thin stainless steel. These elements, along with colour photographs and tiny glass beads, offer the viewer an infinite kaleidoscopic version of The Beaney, its books and collections. A Beaney within the Beaney.

Development of Silver Linings
In 2005 we were appointed as Lead Artists to work with the Design Team for the £14 million restoration and redevelopment of The Beaney. We were asked to respond to the museum’s collection and architecture and create an installation that would hold visitors’ interest over time. Space was limited so integration with the building and the museum’s collection was paramount. Integration of the artworks was made possible by working with the design team and contractor from the early stages of the project.