Brighton collective Shared Space and Light bring joy to locals with the immersive art installation ‘Murmurations’ viewable outside Fabrica.
As the world is on pause, so is much of the art world. By now we are itching to head to an evening at the theatre or leisurely stroll around the latest art gallery exhibition. Undeterred by the restrictions, local collective Shared Space and Light has created ‘Murmurations’, an outdoor art installation viewable outside Fabrica art gallery. These artists are no strangers to using outdoor spaces as their canvas, applying a technique known as video-mapping to project moving images onto buildings, objects and statues.
Shared Space and Light is comprised of Chris Grottick, Kate Laird and Giles Thacker. Chris and Giles have an impressive combined experience of 45 years in filmmaking and moving images, whereas Kate is a creative producer who has spent 20 years in the arts, including theatre and outdoor arts.
The collective was invited to present a variety of ways to projection map on the outside facade of the Fabrica building. “The context of the piece is always important and Fabrica is no exception,” says Shared Space and Light. They decided the most straightforward and economical method was to project on the windows from the inside. “This also turned out to be a perfect option given the Covid restrictions, but also a real winner with the ornate masonry framing the projection.” The exhibition, which first started at the end of 2020, is best experienced about an hour after sunset, around 5.30pm onwards, in the windows of Fabrica on Duke Street.
Under usual circumstances, the artists work together to combine moving visuals with a strong soundtrack to create an immersive experience for the viewer. They needed an abstract theme and something that would be visually strong on its own. “We wanted something that felt like it could be existing within the space and murmurations ticked all the boxes.”
The murmuration has become motif of the city over the years, with flocks of starlings choosing to roost on Brighton seafront in the old West Pier from Autumn to Spring. No one is certain of what causes the phenomenon, but it has become a source of inspiration for many local artists. “Giles has been filming starlings locally for many years and has made several films about them.” As a motion graphics artist, Giles wanted to explore the motion and fluid dynamics of the murmurations. “The other key element of the installation was to embed the context within the griddled window panes [of Fabrica].” They also mention how this dictated what digital processes would be appropriate alongside creating a stained glass aesthetic.
The Brighton-based collective have a wide reputation for their spectacular video-mapping projects all over the UK. Chris and Giles have been using the technique in their work for many years. Their first outdoor piece, Tower of Dreams, was projected onto the Pepperpot in Queen’s Park ten years ago. Since then, Shared Space and Light have collaborated on a number of different projects that bring public spaces to life, often highlighting the rich cultural history of a person or location. Their productions have been experienced by thousands of people across the country.
Fortunately, the lockdown restrictions has not completely challenged the way Kate, Chris and Giles create their art. Over Christmas, their projection piece at the Leonardslee Illuminated outdoor trail — a collaboration between many artists — went ahead for locals in between the national lockdowns. However, their work towards the Mayflower 400, which marks the 400th anniversary of the ship’s iconic voyage from England to America, will not be projected live. “Not only have we had to gather interviews online but the final piece will be presented online [later this Spring].” Follow their Facebook page for updates on their future projects.
‘Murmurations’ by Shared Space and Light is located at Fabrica, 40 Duke Street, Brighton. BN1 1AG. The art installation is best viewed after sunset, around 5.30pm onwards and is available until Tues 23 February 2021. View more of their projects on their website: www.sharedspaceandlight.com