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& National Music Centre | Request For Qualifications


National Music Centre | Request For Qualifications


index 01 | Artist statement 02 | Background and relevant past experience 03 | Artistic vision for the NMC Public Art project 04 | Curriculum vitae 05 | Selected exhibitions / commissions 06 | References 07 | Contacts


artist statement


Aether & Hemera are the ancient Greek god and goddess of brighter upper air and daylight; Aether is Claudio, the new media architect; Hemera is Gloria, the lighting artist. Aether & Hemera multi-disciplinary studio produces engaging spaces that connect people with their environment; the artistic aim is to explore the aesthetic challenges of light and its power to trigger emotions and response, creating a sense of identity or setting a mood. We perceive colours and light as an epiphany of possible beauty, a levity amplifier and a metamorphosis tool transforming places and dimensions. We are also keen to look at the ways colours, light and sound can

interact with each other and with the viewers; these are some of the ideas we are working on and would like to develop further for this commission. In our practice we are particularly interested in investigating the ways in which metals, textured surfaces, glass, filters, plastics, and other absorbing or reflecting materials can be effectively employed along with natural daylight or lighting technologies such as LED’s, UV lamps, fibre optics and projections; we are most fascinated by this project because we consider extremely inspiring having the opportunity to explore the connection between those elements and sound for creating a new multi-sensory piece.


Background and relevant past experience We often work throughout the holistic design process, participating in a communal an integrated design approach to incorporate our ideas and interventions into the fabric of the buildings. We are most fascinated by this opportunity because we consider an extremely resourceful and effective experience to be involved in the project from the earliest stage. We believe that creative partnerships and collaborations can lead to successful and integrated ways of developing creative ideas; working with the architects throughout the process and participating in a communal design approach will enable us to incorporate our ideas into the fabric of the building. Our site-specific approach considers materials and colours, lights and reflections, usage patterns, geometries and privileged viewpoints. These core elements will contribute in creating an innovative, engaging and inspiring environment, helping in the NMC’s identification as a place where art and music lives and artists work. We are used to working as part of a team within a wider partnership and we produce 3D renders, sketches, maquettes, images and words for communicating the project to the community and stakeholders. The recent Morpeth Hospital’s project (2013) is an example of our ability to work closely with multidisciplinary design teams; collaborating with the P+HS Architects since the beginning of the new Centre’s development allowed us to create an integrated artwork that exploits the spatial dialogue with the double-height glass wall, establishing a relationship between inner and outer spaces during daytime and at night. We also engaged with doctors and staff through the research and development stage, reflecting their ambition for the entry hall: bright and colourful lighting accents to provide a welcoming atmosphere, with the aim of creating a positive and uplifting experience for both staff and patients.


Chromatic Circles | Morpeth NHS Centre


Our installations, predominately site-specific, consider the particular genius loci of each place: our approach is always informed by the fundamental consideration of the activities, cultural memory, perceptions and emotions of the human beings who are, or will be, inhabiting the space. For instance, in the ‘Harbottle Park’ project we designed, fabricated and installed two permanent landmarks for the main entrances inspired by the local heritage; we employed interactive coloured lights to create an attractive environment, helping the Park to gain vitality and providing a statement of optimism. One of them is ‘Lighting Clock’, a 4 meters Cor-ten landmark which incorporates the name of the park and that signals the exact time through coloured light impulses, replacing the chimes in usual clock towers. A connection to the local historical context is provided taking inspiration from the former nearby Maling Pottery, where a clock tower used to indicate the time to Byker residents. During the community engagement we also ran hands-on workshops to design, together with the locals, the logo and patterns to be incorporated in the cut steel gateway and to enrich the concept in response to local knowledge and feedback. The aim of Aether & Hemera’s artistic vision is to provoke memories, explore aesthetic interactions and to elicit feelings of connective human experiences in a required-toparticipate audience. Our work often allows viewers to become active participants in creating multisensory experiences, with the aim of investigating the potential for creative forms of inter-authorship.


Lighting Clock | Newcastle upon Tyne, UK


Voyage | Canary Wharf, London


In our recent artwork, ‘Synesthesia’, the audience is invited to speak into a set of microphones; the system captures all the sounds performed and analyses the individual nuances of people’s voices to create a new music composition in real time. The artwork surrounds the visitors with sounds and colours that respond to their performance and is based on the synesthetic theory. Our installations explore light’s creative and artistic potential to express ideas, emotions and surprising encounters; they are crafted to generate a sense of joy in everyone, from children to adults, interacting with their emotional perception, as in ‘Voyage’. ‘Voyage’ consisted of 300 illuminated floating ‘paper-boat’ items, changing lighting behaviour on the basis of public interaction and encountered ecstatic public response. Creating an unexpected and unusual addition to the landscape, Voyage inspires the viewers to think creatively about the spaces around them; the dynamic coloured light scenarios of the artwork invite people to make a smooth transition between reality and daydream. The fleet composes an organic matrix of lights that uses the water as canvas for drawing ever changing coloured effects that create an imaginative and immersive magical landscape that people can interact with from their mobile phones. Blurring the lines between the real and hyperreal, Voyage invited busy Londoners to cross the borders of their imagination.


Artistic vision for the NMC Public Art project Our aim is to foster community engagement and enrich NMC’s inner and outer spaces by embedding a public artwork for all to enjoy; the dynamic coloured light scenarios of the installations will enhance the experience of visitors of the National Music Centre, conferring it a rich, dynamic and animated atmosphere. The walls could become canvases for a beautiful dynamic light installation that amplifies on the outside what it is happening on the on inside, for instance creating patterns and animations in real-time based on the music, performance or activities that are performed in the centre. The idea is to extend the NMC space on the surrounding urban area, bringing the indoor love and passion for music outdoor. We feel that Public Art’s main strength is not only what form it takes but also its potential to instigate change, inspiration, connections and shape people’s views and perceptions. Public art at its best enables communities to participate in that transformation and it can change how people feel about living in, working in or visiting that place. We participate in Public Art for reciprocal enrichment: on one side we hope to provide engaging and poetic artworks while on the other partnerships with communities, architects, designers and other professionals that have become an important part of our creative process. Their knowledge, ideas and values inspire and improve our practice.


Synesthesia | Sydney, Australia


curriculum vitae Aether | Claudio Benghi Education & Teaching 2009 – Present Senior Lecturer at Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne. 2007 Doctorate at Polytechnic University of Milan, Milan, Italy 2000 - 2005 Professor with a temporary appointment for the course: “Communication design” Polytechnic University of Milan - School of Design. 2000 M.Sc., Architecture, Polytechnic University of Milan, Milan, Italy Hemera | Gloria Ronchi Education & Fellowship June-Oct. 08 Institute of Digital Innovation Fellowship was given for the design and creation of a ‘Mood Chair’, a piece of interactive furniture that responds to the environment and people. 2003-2004 Brera Academy of Fine Arts in Milan, Italy - MA master degree in Lighting Design 1999-2000 Polytechnic University of Milan, Italy - Course in Interactive New Media 1994-1999 Polytechnic University of Milan, Italy- MSc


selected exhibitions | commissions 2013 | Fluidity - Northern Design Festival, Newcastle upon Tyne

Interactive lighting installation which visualises the ‘gender experiences’ of the festival audience. This lighting work reacts in real time reflecting people’s feelings, changing its colour according to the data inputted by the participants through their smart phones. Influenced by Dr. Hilton’s research and supported by his deep insight, the installation aims at stimulating discussion and reflection around gender identity, engaging with people and helping them question pre-assumptions.

2013 | Synesthesia - Vivid Sydney, Australia

The audience is invited to speak into a set of microphones; the system captures all the sounds performed and uses them for creating a new soundscape, in real time accompanied with synchronised light events. This artwork allows viewers to become active participants in creating multisensory computer-mediated experiences, with the aim of investigating the potential for creative forms of inter-authorship. Commissioned by Vivid Sydney.

2012 2013 | Voyage - Canary Wharf, London

Enlivening Middle Dock during the dark winter months, ‘Voyage’ consists of 300 floating “paper boats”, illuminated from within by coloured LED lights; the installation is an interactive experience that people can engage with from their mobile phones. Commissioned for Canary Wharf Group’s award-winning public art programme.

2013 | Chromatic Circles - Morpeth Integrated Care Centre, Northumberland

Art Strategy for the new exemplar NHS community facility in Morpeth. We engaged with P+HS Architects and staff through the research and design development stage. Commissioned by Inspire Northumberland in partnership with NHS North of Tyne Estates.

2013 | Growing Forest - Kinetica Art Fair, London

Growing Forest is an interactive installation that employs data visualisation and digital media, for reflecting the growing state of the social relations, and conversations in the exhibition space. A bespoken software application produces algorithmic-based trees customised on the audio input signals.


2012 | Rainbow Glowing Wheels – Shimmer, Whitley Bay, North Tyneside

Rainbow Glowing Wheels is the development of a kinetic light installation, which employs digital media for celebrating the heritage and history of Whitley Bay seafront. Commissioned by North Tyneside Council.

2012 | Germinating Seeds – Blinc Digital Festival, Conwy, Wales

Data visualisation and digital media is used for an interactive video-projection, part of the Blinc Digital Festival. Supported by The Arts Council of Wales, Conwy County Council and Cadw.

2012 | ‘Which is your Brass Voice?’ for International Brass Festival, Durham.

Digital Media was used for this interactive installation to create a multi-sensory experience for the festival audiences. Bespoken Artificial Intelligence software analyses the stream of visitor’s voices in real time and extracts information used to modulate brass sound and light effects in the space. Commissioned by Durham City Council.

2011 | Entrance Features for Harbottle Park, Newcastle upon Tyne

We designed and created an installation of interactive landmarks for Harbottle Park entrances. During the overall project we engaged with local people, developing our concept in collaboration with and responding to their input. ‘Lighting Clock’ signals the exact time through coloured light impulses replacing the chimes in usual clock towers; a custom antenna detects the atomic clock signal transmitted by the National Physical Laboratory and a custom hardware and bespoken DMX software translates it into colour lighting scenography every 15 minutes, using RGB high-powered LEDs. ‘Coloured Maze’ is a Cor-ten artwork for the South East entrance which users can interact with and choose its colour through their mobile phones. Commissioned by Newcastle City Council

2011 | Chromatic Octagon for Selby NHS, Yorkshire

A site-specific dichroic-glass suspended artwork for the main entrance of the new Selby Hospital, inspired by the octagonal geometry of the space. Commissioned by NHS North Yorkshire and York.

2011 | The Colour of Phi at DLI/Durham Art Gallery, Durham

Site-specific electro-luminescent artwork uses the concept of the Golden Ratio as a mathematical and aesthetic principle. Supported by arts Council of England North East. Commissioned by Durham City Council.


2010 | Coloured Waves for Whiston Hospital’s, St. Helen

Four dichroic-glass suspended artworks for the main entrance of the new Whiston Hospital, collaboration with Taylor Woodrow. Commissioned by Arts for Health, Manchester Metropolitan University

2010 | Lead Artists for Sustrans Connect2 South East Northumberland

Art Strategy for two new cycle and walking routes in Blyth and Bedlington and engagement with locals. Commissioned by Inspire Northumberland, Sustrans and Northumberland County Council.

2010 | Stories at Wolverhampton Art Gallery, Wolverhampton

‘Rose’s Halo’, an audio-light installation -has been part of the ‘Stories’ exhibition. Through paintings, drawings, sculptures and collage, the gallery space has been transformed into an enchanted, playful and mysterious land. Curator: Helen Oliver.

2009 | Infinity – Cannon Hall Museum, Barnsley

Site-specific installation using lights and mirrors to transform Cannon Hall Museum’s Gardens; the themes of reflection and symmetry provided the opportunity for a playful interaction and extra-ordinary perception of the surrounding space. Commissioned by Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council.

2008 | Suspended installations Truro Health Park, Cornwall

Three suspended lighting installations for the entrances of a new NHS Health Centre; Blue Tri-Veru is a dichroic glass artwork and Coloured Sails are interactive LED lights sculptures. We engaged with DAC Architects, the other artists involved in the project and the local community through the research and design development stage. Commissioned by AFHC (Arts for Health Cornwall and Isles of Scilly).

2007 | Light, music and sculptures in San Maurizio Church, Milan

Light, music and sculptures is a dynamic lighting installation part of a performance in San Maurizio Church in Milan. Collaborated with, sculptor A. Demetz and pianist M. Carbonara. Organized by Ambrosia Association.

2007 | Line of Light, Milan

Design of bespoke lighting and urban furniture for Santa Giulia’s garden, a new development in Milan. Collaborated with Pollice Illuminazione and West8 Landscape Architects.


references Colin Robson Arts Officer (Public Art & Events)

Durham County Council Northumbria House Aykley Heads Durham DH1 5TS Tel: 03000 265554 Email: colin.robson@durham.gov.uk

Wendy Scott Design & Arts Development Manager

Northumberland County Council Customer and Cultural Services County Hall Morpeth Northumberland NE61 2EF Email: wendy.scott02@northumberland.gov.uk

Keith Watson Public Art Officer

Canary Wharf Ltd One Canada Square London, E14 5AB Tel: +44(0)20 7418 2257 Email: Keith.Watson@canarywharf.com


website www.aether-hemera.com

contact details Gloria Ronchi, Claudio Benghi Kingsland Church Studios Priory Green Byker Newcastle upon Tyne NE6 2DW +44(0) 7832377281 hemera@aether-hemera.com


& National Music Centre | Request For Qualifications

www.aether-hemera.com

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