Guest blog-post about the Napa Lighted Art Festival from Karen Monid:
Ross and I are thrilled to be asked to return to the Napa Lighted Festival in the USA. Our first piece there, Line, shown in 2017, was a contemporary study in the combined effect of optical illusion, sound and motion with modern architecture. This year, the festival has generously offered us one of the most historic sites in Napa to show our new work, Horizon, a co-commission between the Ordered Universe project, the Light Up Poole Festival in the UK and the Napa Lighted Art Festival in the US.
The Ordered Universe project website has information about Horizon already here. As artists, it has been a wonderful experience to create a new work that is not only inspired by Robert Grosseteste’s works, but goes even further, using his own words as the central core of the piece. Horizon places his observations, experiences and interpretations of the earth and our place in it alongside those of the ecosystem studies of the Jet Propulsion Labaratory in NASA, whose work sits at the cutting edge of 21st century technology. Horizon reveals a surprising similarity of human aim behind scientific enquiry and searching, both then and now. It shows how interpretations have developed, as we have changed our viewing positions from that of being ‘on the earth’ to moving ‘off the earth’ and looking back at ourselves on this planet.
Something new I was keen to explore in the audio for the work, something that has never been done before with the Ordered Universe project, is to focus on the context of Grosseteste’s writings, to allow them to be presented to Horizon‘s audience as the teaching materials we believe them to have been, spoken aloud to students, learning about their place on the earth and in the universe as a whole. It has been exciting to find creatively meaningful ways to do this in Horizon, working with Professor Giles Gasper, Dr Sigbjørn Sønnesyn, and students at Durham University, in particular. Moreover, that Horizon also shows that modern science continues in this same work today shows a direct lineage from thinkers such as Grosseteste into the modern world.
One if the most exciting aspects of the project for us is that we are being given the opportunity to present the piece in Napa on the Goodman Library. The Goodman Library is a beautiful piece of Napa architectural history. It has survived several earthquakes and has recently reopened after an intense restoration program to preserve and protect its unique features. Libraries are the repositories of knowledge and so it is particularly resonant to have developed the premiere of ‘Horizon’ for this particular building. We will be discussing Horizon and our work, at the free ‘Meet the Artist’ event in Napa on January 13th. Tickets are available here.
Finally, we would like to extend our grateful thanks for the support of our collaborators at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory at NASA, Dr Joshua Willis and Dr Joshua Fisher. Dr Willis is the principal investigator on the OMG (Oceans Melting Greenland) mission and Dr Fisher is Science Lead on the ECOSTRESS mission, one of several space-based data gathering missions that are collectively looking at earth ecosystem changes, in collaboration with other space agencies internationally. We are delighted that Dr Joshua Fisher will also be giving a talk at Napa Lighted as part of the program of talks on offer at the Festival. Tickets are available here.