“Speed of Light” was an interesting experience: simultaneously brilliant and disappointing. NVA, the company behind it, have worked a lot with light in the environment (their installation at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh in 2008, “Spirit“, was beautiful, and I heard great things about their work in Skye and Glen Lyon).
Speed of Light is hard to describe: I think installation works best, except that the whole point was that it consisted of volunteer runners, choreographed to create patterns. At night. On Arthur’s Seat. Wearing light suits.
You may see why I was attracted to it: the moment I heard about it, I knew I wanted to see it.
But – brilliant and disappointing: I clearly have conflicting feelings about it.
Brilliant first. At a very basic level, it made me look at the world in a different way – what I believe art should do. It took a familiar landscape – I must have climbed Arthur’s Seat fifty times or more over the years – and made it afresh. The audience, equipped with
light sabres light-emitting walking sticks (or “staffs” – all a bit Gandalfian…), were part of the choreography, part of the creation. The runners made amazing patterns on the (east-facing) slopes of Salisbury Crags, and the audience walked up the path to the east of this, the runners creating patterns against the dark of the landscape.