SA artists create a lunar miracle

24 October 2017 - 10:25 By Shanthini Naidoo
'Astronomia Nova' is an immersive hologram installation in a Swedish forest.
'Astronomia Nova' is an immersive hologram installation in a Swedish forest.
Image: Supplied

South African artists Faith XLVII and Lyall Sprong have caught the moon - and put it in a forest in Sweden to highlight environmental crises, disparity and how asynchronous with nature we are.

The acclaimed artists are responsible for some of SA's most ethereal outdoor artworks, such as Cape Town's The Harvest mural which Faith painted. Sprong added an illumination element which lit up each time enough money was raised to install a street light in Khayelitsha.

Astonomia Nova is their latest joint venture, an immersive hologram installation set in a Swedish forest, which will be serialised, in an abandoned factory in Mauritius next January and possibly in a Los Angeles alleyway.

"Where it goes is largely dependent on where and when we can get support for the various installations," said Faith, who now lives in Los Angeles.

"The piece pays homage to our great timekeepers and the ancient internal rhythms that predate the construct of time, an ode to our connection with the external forces that define us."

WATCH | Clips of the Astonomia Nova installation 

 

The work is a reminder of our co-existence with nature.

"Over the aeons the moon has affirmed our relationship with the whole, a solitary conductor silently bathing us in its cyclical weight, a reminder that we are a part of an immense intricate web of existence.

"That we are not isolated beings but made of waves, tides, rhythm, vibrations, energetic pulls and pulses," writes Faith, who travels the world to create whimsical art with purpose.

Existence can be quite mystical and in many cases the moon creates a rhythm or order that makes life possible. We as humans are very much a part of nature - influenced by this rhythm
Lyall Sprong, artist

"I have been working on this idea for two years. When I was invited to Sweden to create an artwork I immediately thought of the forests, and pitched this idea to them. I have worked with Lyall before, he is an intuitive, insightful, skilled architect and artist. He is the one who made the vision possible with his craftsmanship."

Sprong said: "Existence can be quite mystical and in many cases the moon creates a rhythm or order that makes life possible. We as humans are very much a part of nature - influenced by this rhythm. The installation aims to acknowledge this interdependency."

"We led small groups of people into the forest at night down a winding path to see a glimpse of the moon, silently rotating amidst the trees," said Faith.

The artist added: "Using magical realism as our language, we want to spark the imagination and awe that is inherent in existence. We want to consider our relationship with the whole, the binding of nature and man. We consider that we are a part of an immense intricate web of existence.

"It is imperative that humans appreciate their connection with the planet, especially at a time when we are leading future generations down an unsustainable path to extinction. The purpose then, is to remind people that 'nature is a wise and profound teacher'.

"We are aiming to further our own connection to a broader cosmological context and in so doing create the space for others to concurrently explore this possibility. It is important to find ways to truly appreciate the inherent wisdom in nature and in ourselves. "

Sprong added: "Success would be judged over time by any individual that happens to experience the installation, but we essentially aimed to create a dedicated moment of intimacy within a wild, dark space." 

• This article was originally published in The Times.

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