I created MIGRATION in response to the brief set by the new Cure Leukaemia Centre at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham. The brief was to create a distracting and startling artwork, uplifting and thought-provoking, in the waiting area of this new ward. Patients would be sitting in this waiting area to receive news of their diagnosis, a stressful situation, so the artwork was to provide a possible complete distraction.
My idea was to create a piece that reflected the energy of a flock of birds, a flotilla of boats, on the move to somewhere else, hotter perhaps, away from here, and wanted the viewer to have a feeling of weightlessness and exhilaration.35 curved triangles of specially coated glass hang from a stainless steel frame set into a 3 metre long 80cm wide light well. Each piece of glass is 30cm x 70cm x 4mm.
The reaction of the metal coating in the slumping process creates an incredible iridescence on the surface of the glass, this iridescence changes with the fall of light from above, as the day changes, the weather, until the evening when it is lit more from below, by the artificial light within the room.
The air conditioning unit located nearby causes a very light intermittent breeze, which moves the glass pieces. they touch each other, delicately, they make a pleasant tinkling sound. These glass pieces also, however, create the frisson of glass hanging above the viewers heads, not unlike a conventional chandelier. This challenges the patients’ emotions, leaving them thinking about the glass, and not their illness.
Detailed drawings of the light well had to be obtained as well as contact made with the contractor, the very man who built the light well, to establish secure points of fixing for the heavy stainless steel frame that the glass hangs from.