The Salisbury Cathedral in England has multiple claims to fame: it is home to Europe’s oldest working clock, tallest church spire in the United Kingdom, and also the world’s best kept original copy of the Magna Carta. The ancient Magna Carta has come to symbolise key ideas of human rights and equality–concepts that have caused both intellectual and physical ripples throughout the world. To celebrate the 800th anniversary of the document’s signing, the Salisbury Cathedral has commissioned international art group Squidsoup to create two immersive installations within the historic architecture.
Enlightenment is a light display with over 6,000 individually controllable points suspended from the North Pole of the cathedral. The lights respond to the presence of visitors, creating an abstract physical space that envelops the viewer. The work is inspired by the ripple effect that the Magna Carta has had over time and space, and how its influence has changed and grown over time to encompass huge portions of the globe.
The second project, Power of Words covers a wall in the chapel with quotes and phrases from the Magna Carta. It grows organically, with the words projected on the walls, but can also be disturbed or destroyed as it reacts to gestures and movement. The disruption of the structure causes the words to move and morph, allowing new phrases to emerge, and is meant to encourage visitors to reflect upon the consequences of their actions, the meaning behind the Magna Carta, and its relevance today, through the power of words.