Stephen Hurrel (Lighting Design, 2008)Beneath and Beyond Seismic Sounds

Stephen Hurrel

Fellow in 2008 for Lighting Design

During most of the 1990s Stephen explored various forms of new media including video, slide projection, interactive media and programmed lighting in relation to public space and people. His main interest at that time was in how art could function within a social, urban context and how new media technologies could be utilised as tools for the art making process.

His interest in light and digital media led to a series of works using programmed light to play with the modernist grid of existing buildings. These installations would celebrate the grid on the one hand, and undermine its architectural authority on the other. Furthermore he liked the idea of an unprepared public reacting to such an installation.

In early to mid 2000s he produced several permanent artworks including The Rings in Glasgow, an interactive light-based sculpture that responds to sound levels from the surrounding streets and The Sound of the Wind Looks Like This in Blackpool, a light artwork that reacts to wind speeds and wind direction.

He was also interested in making the artwork itself a sustainable ecological system, by incorporating wind turbines and solar cells for example.

Receiving an Arts Foundation Award provided a timely opportunity to explore ideas around art and ecology and to look at new technical possibilities. Through engaging in concepts around art and ecology Stephen recognised a shift taking place in his practice. He felt that in order to engage in a closer dialogue with nature (and new technologies) he had to locate himself in more natural, non-urban environments. The process of making the work returned to a closer engagement with people and place and the outcomes mostly took the form of video projected films that were a synthesis of ideas, cinematic imagery, sound and light.