Heritage in the Spotlight with John Radford Installation
The importance for Auckland of preserving its historic buildings is highlighted this month with the switching on of a new light-based installation artwork by John Radford.
Lux Flux consists of 200 small, clear LED lights and incandescent bulbs scattered across the rear facade of Old Sofrana House, one of the 18 heritage buildings preserved as part of the Britomart urban renewal project.
At night, pedestrian movements through the precinct trigger the lights, causing them to flicker across the 110-year-old facade in a seemingly random 15-second sequence.
Designed to highlight the grand old building’s architectural features, the work is a commentary on the importance of architecture to provide continuity in a world of constant change.
“People come and go, but buildings remain largely constant,” says Radford, whose work often returns to the subject of architectural heritage. “Historic buildings gather evidence of lives lived, of time passing in human terms. They’re repositories of deep layered histories of memory, people and place, and it’s vital for us to preserve them.”
Themes of permanence and flux are explored in the Britomart work through the kinetic play of light. The two types of lighting and their varying angles are intended to evoke the lights of Britomart’s past, from gaslight to electric lights to the endlessly shifting patterns of sunlight.
“While Old Sofrana House has stayed more or less the same over the decades, the light moving over it has been subject to constant shifts and changes,” says Radford. “Each moment of illumination in the artwork is like a tiny snapshot of a moment in the building’s history.”
The work is installed on the Galway Street facade at the back of the building, which overlooks Station Plaza behind the Britomart Transport Centre. Its trigger points are located opposite Old Sofrana House, near the volcanic cone water feature in Station Plaza, and further away outside the Northern Steamship Co. on the corner of Gore and Tyler Streets.
Lux Flux was commissioned by the Britomart Arts Foundation as the first of a series of installations that will appear throughout the precinct in the coming months.
Created 28 May 2008