Momentum by United Visual Artist is a site-specific installation that is meticulously integrated with the architecture of the Curve art space in the Barbican.
Before the viewer even enters the Curve, there is a faint haze induced by smoke emitted from in between the gaps of the curtains, which hints at the environment beyond. The Barbican staff describes the environment and encourages photography, but without flash, implying that the experience is more of an impact without any additional light.
Upon entering, the dense smog inhibits any vision of the room, drawing attention to the revolving pendulous mechanisms hung from the ceiling; the haze gives the space an almost ethereal quality. Initially, it is difficult to see anything prior to ones eyes adjusting to the light, but as the viewer crosses through the smoke, the lights illuminate the Curve to reveal its architecture.
Complex distorted sounds resonate throughout the space with subtle yet noticeable impact. The sounds themselves that are emitted are at times incoherent and dissonant; they consist primarily of scratches, clicks, wavelike ambient sounds and distant singing, which are peculiar to each strut.
The impact of the resonant sound is instant and as the sound fills the room, one is immediately aware of the space in which the work inhabits; curiosity entices the viewer to be inquisitive despite the fact the pitch black prevents any vision of the space.
The spacial awareness of the viewer is stimulated as the spotlight loop freezes and a brief pause of silence in darkness holds the viewer in temporary suspense, allowing for a brief meditation. Following this, the ring of lights perform a cyclical motion that illuminates the walls of the Curve, drawing attention to the space and surroundings, diverting the viewers attention to the space through the illumination of the architecture.
The spotlights allude to the absence of the body, yet within this, it is countered by the enticing of the viewer to become immersed or even involved; they allow for the transition to the ring of lights to exist as a divergent entity, yet they are bound by an aesthetic and systematic coherence.
Ultimately the transition of one illuminative emission to the next is pivotal to the impact of the work. The interlude is what presents the viewer with a moment for lucid consideration and to also allow for the next transition to be systematically coherent.
A synthesis of ambience and kinesis is demonstrated with a captivating display of ingenuity in Momentum. The engagement with the work is formed from the coherent formulation of light and sound, drawing attention to the viewer’s presence in the space and comparatively the illumination of the architecture itself.
The durational loop is tuned in a way that the viewer is compelled to become committed to the experience; with a fluctuation between linear and circular performances and a brief moment of silence, the work captivates to a point that time becomes a distant concern and immersion seems perpetual.
Having experienced the work on a few occasions, becoming entranced with the work was a consistent privilege, so much so I’d realised that half an hour had passed after leaving on both visits.
United Visual Artist – Momentum
Barbican Curve Gallery
London EC2Y 8DS
Written By Stefan Rhys Evans