Hadrian’s Wall borders connected through light
A colourful line of pulsating balloons is to light up the night sky on the 73 mile (117km) length of Hadrian’s Wall.
The digital art installation will see 400 balloons lined from Segedunum Roman Fort in Wallsend, to Bowness-on-Solway, as part of the London 2012 Festival.
Called Connecting Light, it is designed for people to view the wall as a bridge not a barrier – described by artist Zachary Lieberman as an “inverse wall”.
Mr Lieberman said the creation has “never been seen before”.
Designed by New York based digital arts collective YesYesNo and founding member Mr Lieberman, the idea is to allow people to share their physical or emotional experiences and thoughts about borders.
Hadrian’s Wall is set in amazing landscape, it’s incredibly beautiful”
End Quote Zachary Lieberman Artist
He said: “We are nerd artists who try to find a poetic way to use technology – in this case it’s LEDs and radio communication.
“Hadrian’s Wall is set in amazing landscape, it’s incredibly beautiful and the other thing I love about the wall is that it goes through so many different types of environments – windswept plains, craggy rocky landscapes, straight through cities.
“That diversity of environments I found really powerful. I also felt it’s very peaceful in places and we wanted to capture that. Connecting Light celebrates the whole of the wall.”
Mr Lieberman says his work uses technology in a playful way to explore the nature of communication and the delicate boundary between the visible and the invisible.
The 6ft 6ins (2m) diameter weather balloons will transmit messages between each other and internal LED lights will change colour in response – this will create a line of pulsating colours as messages travel through it.
Connecting Light takes place on Friday and Saturday
The public will be able to interact with the balloons by creating messages and selecting colours either at the site or online – directly controlling the installation.
There are several sites across the wall which will be open to the public, including the Errington Arms in Corbridge, Housesteads Roman Fort and Carlisle Castle and Tullie House Museum.
Linda Tutiett, from Hadrian’s Wall Heritage, said: “We want people to think about Hadrian’s Wall in a fresh new light, we want to build an audience for the wall who will care about it for the future.
“This is one way of getting people to think about some of the world’s most amazing heritage, but to do so in such a brilliantly modern way is really going to put the spotlights on Hadrian’s Wall Country from all over the world.”
The Hadrian’s Wall Trust is looking for volunteers to help out at the event.
Connecting Light is being produced in partnership with the Hadrian’s Wall Trust, the Cultural Olympiad programme and local partners.
The event takes place over Friday and Saturday and organisers advise visitors to go between 20:00 and 23:00 BST