The Ripple Effect

White silk, duct fans, LED lighting and soundscape via headphones.
Chaplains’ Room, the Cloisters at Lacock Abbey National Trust.
A Trust New Art Commission.  8 September – 18 November 2018

The Ripple Effect is a new installation created for The Chaplains’ Room at Lacock Abbey, inspired by the architecture of the medieval cloisters and its legacy as a place for contemplation. It is the first of three projects which explore the theme of peace and its ambiguities and what this can mean from a contemporary perspective within the context of Lacock. The installation coincides with the centenary of Armistice Day.

The Ripple Effect on one level describes the qualities of the installation, but also alludes to the idea that any action is interconnected and can have a far reaching effect.

We have created a floor of white silk which has been cut and sewn to fit around the central stone pillar and main area of the Chaplains’ Room. A series of fans set around the edge of the installation cause waves to ripple through the whole of the silk floor like a single body of water. The breeze filtering through from the outside and the moisture and circulation of air within the confines of the room all cause variations in the flow and movement of the silk.

The edge of the installation cuts diagonally across the room from the entrance to the far corner leaving a narrow section of the floor uncovered so visitors can view and become immersed in the artwork.

Silk has been chosen for its material qualities, but also for its associations with Armistice and its use in times of conflict and peace during and after the two World Wars. Armistice Silk – a refinished silk made from the 18 million yards of surplus silk cartridge cloth at the end of World War 1 and the silk military parachutes, were both used to make clothes during and after the war.

The space is illuminated by both natural and coloured LED light and the mood of the space will change continually throughout the day and months. The shift through the spectrum of colours reflects the diverse qualities of light found around Lacock, from the natural golden glow of the afternoon sun on the stonework to the more staged artificial lighting effects used in the Cloisters’ film sets.

A soundscape can be heard through headphones set up in the space to create a solitary context for experiencing the work cut off from the ambient sounds in the room. This has been composed from sounds recorded around Lacock during the last few months and layered to gradually build up then fall away quickly to induce a sense of silence.

Further information on the project can be found on our blog.
Below is a short film about the Ripple Effect.