5 minutes with Oblique Arts

Tuesday 13 February 2018

(Above: Bright Lights: The Colours of the Brain. Photo Credit: Jordan Harris)

How long have you been working within the lighting industry and creating your amazing light installations?Artist Beverley Carpenter was a founding member of Oblique Arts, which was set up in 2007 and became an artist led art charity in 2011. Sarah Steenhorst is a installation artist with a community focus from the Netherlands who got involved with Oblique Arts in 2016. Since then Beverley and Sarah have worked on several arts projects, with the most recent one being Bright Lights of CB4. Oblique Arts has been involved with a variation of public art installations including multi-media and projections. We specialise in enabling communities to work with us to explore their creative potential through high quality visual arts projects.

 What inspired you to create this specific installation?We wanted to see some inspiring public art in the e-Luminate festival again this year. These projections are about the creative brain. A colourful interpretation of circulating ideas and emotions is taken from a series of workshops run by ourselves with community groups in CB4. The groups are made up of specific individuals who use their brains in very different ways. We saw that the creative brain functions differently when engaged. This can be seen in brain scans and we have used these scanned images as a core element of the projected images. As artists we wanted to make the images dynamic, layered and inclusive of a range of people. Some of the people we worked with are living with various learning difficulties, including dementia. Participants from Rowan Humberstone, Cambridge Art Works, Thrift Walk Studios (Cambridge Art Salon), Cambridge Manor Care Home, Victoria Homes and Winter Comfort took part. We gathered the objects and images that they produced to incorporate into moving the final works. Six projections happened in CB4 with different  visual elements. We have taken the best parts of these to create the moving image work for e-Luminate. 

 Do you have a favourite city or place to create a light installation?The north of Finland or similar country is ideal. In the middle of winter there may be only 3 hours of daylight or less. This gives lots of time to see projections and other lightworks! 

What does the average day for a light artist entail?We spend a lot of time doing admin to make the projects happen but there are also times of play, drawing and making with some exciting materials. For this project we have developed new video editing techniques with the support of Luana Martignon. There is a lot of editing time. The different venues always offer a new challenge. As we work with communities we meet a lot of new people and devise innovative workshops to enable us to explore our ideas. There is always something new to learn and most of the learning comes from bringing new brains into our process via the workshops and collaborations.

 If you could give one piece of advice to anyone looking to become a light artist what would it be?
Be creative and value this above a secure profession! It is a privilege to be a professional artist within communities. You are able to make ideas visible - don’t forget to always be playful when approaching a new work! Don’t be afraid to collaborate, network and get the support you need from unexpected places.


What are you hoping the people feel when they see your installation for the e-Luminate Festival?
We hope that the audience will consider the different elements of the work as well as enjoying the colour and movement. We hope to inspire an attitude of creative engagement with the drawings and forms within the work. We believe that everyone is creative and to be sure, 'every man/woman is an artist’ to quote Joseph Beuys.
Discover more about the e-Luminate 2018 Festival and what else you can see during the Festival HERE