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other work by Se
án Hillen:

documentary photographs
from the irish 'troubles' period

untitled broken umbrella work

people with broken umbrellas

temporary 'bicykills' gallery

public light sculpture with Katharine Lamb

citigroup sculpture

video projection
for Re-Joyce Festival

the '' project archive

The sculpture has been commissioned in January 2007.
This is a temporary web-page modified from the proposal document..

"A Rainbow Under Claddagh Green"

Sculpture commissioned for Claddagh Green, Ballyfermot,
by Dublin City Council Arts Office under the Percent For Art Scheme.

In this schematic we are looking down on a paved open space in the centre of a new public development. The coloured dots represent LED uplighters which are already planned to go under an array of 35 trees. The area is an open public space opening out from a new sheltered housing scheme on one side and a Youth Club on the other. It also forms a natural and well-used footpath between two roads and to and from local shops.

schematic aerial view of the array of lights


Imagine that you are standing looking across the open space.
Imagine that the uplighters under the trees are instead holes in the ground.
Imagine that there is a river running very close under the surface.
Imagine there is a huge rainbow in the sky.
This is what you'd see- the rainbow reflected in the river.

The primary element of this proposal is an engagement with the proposed white LED uplighters under the trees in the common open space.

The idea is to install instead a system of programmed colour-changing lamps to create the effect of a 'rainbow' constantly moving across, or apparently 'under' the paved area.

Of course the uplighters are lighting the trees and so the rainbow effect should be particularly visible at night.

At the site one is very aware of the western horizon.

Partly inspired by this and the romantic whiff of all the street-names in the area being drawn from the West, I was thinking how I realised, on spending time in Connemara a few years ago, why the western skies there have long fascinated artists and others.
In the case of Dublin we have the slightly baleful influence of the Dublin Mountains, on the other hand the universally cheerful image of the rainbow also came to mind.

I discovered, although I should have guessed, that there is an enormous amount of rainbow lore and mythology, and it can be said to figure in almost all imaginations and cultures as a sign of joy and of wonder- indeed, as often described, a link between Heaven and Earth.

The idea is a fantasy of an enormous rainbow across the sky being reflected in water, as if the uplighters were windows over a body of water.

I also realised that this effect can perhaps be relatively simply and ingeniously achieved with an array of properly-timed colour-changing LED lamps, which would allow more lamps for greater visual impact.

It is pleasing coincidence that the uplighters are already planned in a gentle curve almost like a stylised rainbow, and that the zig-zag in the ground is an ancient and universal symbol for water.

I hope that the artwork will reinforce a sense of identity in the area, and become a minor landmark.


This effect is of a continuous rainbow being revealed through the changing lamps. . Each lamp is indeed simply colour-cycling and the effect comes from consecutive delays in the timing of lines of lamps across the array.
In fact it could be achieved in a number of ways, woth varying degrees of intelligence in the lamps and central controller.

This is significant because if relatively inexpensive lamps can be used and the infrastructure costs are not prohibitive it may be possible to install 2 or even 3 times as many uplighters as originally conceived, spaced between the others, for added visual effect.

One particular technical solution involves using seven lines of independantly running colour-cycling lamps and creating the pattern by starting them up with, for instance a one-second consecutive time delay between them. This would probably involve building a special but simple timed programmer.

The timing of the changing lights should I think be set to give a balance between too-slow to see, and too fast. A nice effect may be if the pattern proceeds at around walking pace, so it moves with you if you walk in one direction, but will be more noticeable when you walk in the opposite direction. This would be a fraction of the speed of the animated image above.

The lamps will be switched on by timers set more generously than normal street lighting, and perhaps stay lit during much or all of the day.