Contextual light & sound installation. St Paul's Cathedral, London, UK. Pablo Valbuena, 2023.
Custom led fixtures, architecture, organ, choir, voices, microphones, control computer.
Aura is a live installation that translates the sounds of the cathedral’s rituals into pulsating light. It listens to the sounds, voices and music generated in each ritual and transforms their frequency spectrum into a spectral aura of light projected at an architectural scale.
Aura refocuses attention on what makes this space a temple: its rituals. In The Disappearance of Rituals, Byung Chul-Han writes that rituals are to time what dwelling is to space. They structure time, they furnish it. Rituals make time habitable. The main quality of a ritual, of a temple, is its temporality. A temple is a space that slows down time, enabling introspection and a deeper experience of reality. Aura seeks to perceptually intensify the ritual and symbolic dimension of this space, enhancing its temporal qualities.
Aura is live from September 15 until October 29, 2023. We highly recommend visiting during Evensong (daily 17h, Sundays 15h) to experience the full scope of the installation. Access is free during services. Detailed schedule here.
Aura is a contextual commission for the London Design Festival in collaboration with Artichoke for St Paul's Cathedral, generously supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies, to celebrate the 300th anniversary of Christopher Wren.
Hardware and Programming: Salvador Mauri, Joan Sandoval.
Production Assistance: Hannah Standen, Kirsteen Martin, Helen Smith, Millie Walker, Craig Needs.
Installation and Logistics: Gustavo Valera, Unusual Rigging, Project Audio, Paradigm 33.
Video and Photo documentation: Malcolm Targett, Ed Reeve.