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Second Nature UP Event ;

My GLoWing review of GLoW: Illuminating Innovation

Alex looking out of a bus window
Alex Cramp (they/he/she)
BA Management & Modern Languages (Spanish pathway), Faculty of Arts & Humanities

16 April 2024

As a final year student, knee-deep in assessments, I needed a break from studying in between classes. So, when I discovered the art installation ‘Second Nature’ by Rebecca Smith at St Mary Le Strand Church, part of the GLoW: Illuminating Innovation project presented by King’s Culture, I decided to have a look. It seemed like a cool idea, and it was free, which is a very important consideration for any student. Little did I know that I was about to be wowed!

I entered the gorgeous church in between King’s Building and Bush House and found a pew to sit on amongst the other audience members. I felt as if I was going to Sunday service. But instead of hymns, we were about to experience an immersive show of 320 lights inspired by environmental data.

As the show began, a meditative soundtrack enveloped the space, blending music with sounds of nature. The surround sound system made me feel as if the chirping birds I heard were flying right next to me. The lights seemed to dance as they morphed into various shapes, surprising us as they moved and spun around. It was not only mesmerizing but technically fascinating as well.

Post-show, I had the opportunity to hear from Sarah Atkinson, Professor of Screen Media and the curator of the project, who explained how this project showed new ways of presenting data and visualising the invisible. I was amazed to find out that the data collected spanned one hundred years from all over London. Live wind speed data from the Strand dictated the intensity of the lights, ensuring that no two shows were ever the same. I also got to peek at the tech set up which was equally as impressive, with each line of data corresponding to different light effects.

My experience with ‘Second Nature’ was truly captivating and I got a refreshing respite from studying whilst still being on campus.

‘Second Nature’ has now closed but GLoW: Illuminating Innovation is running until Saturday 20 April so make sure to check out what else has on offer!