“My first question was how can we curve light,” Matt Clark of United Visual Artists says standing in the studio’s new installation at London’s Barbican. Momentum – which opens today – consists of “12 pendulums that activate light and sound as they swing” but that doesn’t come close to explaining the brilliant experience it provides.
Commissioned just six months ago, Matt and his UVA colleagues jumped at the chance to take over the iconic venue’s Curve space, but he admits following in the footsteps of rAndom International’s Rain Room (with its seven-hour queues) was daunting.
However while Rain Room as an experience was something of a one-liner (albeit a brilliantly executed one), Momentum rewards immersion and the more time you spend in the space, the more the piece starts to affect you. At first you are aware of the pendulums swinging back and forward, left and right, but after a while you notice only the patterns of light thrown against the curved walls. The soundscape works perfectly in conjunction with the lights and movement creating an experience that feels rhythmic and organic despite the obvious technological wizardry that underpins it all.
It’s a blissfully mediative experience to walk round The Curve; a world away form the busy, noisy Barbican and a shock to be deposited back in the real world at the end of it.
Momentum runs until 1 June.