Centre for Contemporary Arts, Glasgow
By Jennifer Falconer Hall
The concept behind Heather Lander’s Materials and Duration 1.2, part of the Cryptic Nights Series in Glasgow, is a simple one. In the centre of a darkened room, sheets of plastic hang from a mobile-like structure like drapes over a spider’s legs. Onto this light patterns are projected and music is played.
The result, however, is anything but simple. As your eyes adjust to the light’s ever changing reflections and refractions, the beautiful geometric constructs take on their own three-dimensional life, the tangible sheets of plastic melt away from your vision and the structure of light becomes an organic, living entity. Gazing upon the kaleidoscopic orb, the orchestral underscore by Pete Sach – layered into the video by Lander – immerses you in the darkened room. Without needing to listen you hear the music, sometimes as distant rumbles of thunder and sometimes overwhelming the room with its power. Sharp bursts punctuate the effervescent movement of the light, and heighten the silence when they fade.
Lander writes that Materials and Duration 1.2 ‘questions magic, illusion and the idea of the physical versus the virtual’, and the installation justifies the claim. It was like standing out in space looking back onto a universe of some virtual kind. In the quietness and the stillness of the room I could have watched it all night.