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Story last updated: 27 Feb 2004 1549 GMT Printable version of this page
Switch on to electrifying art
Artist Richard Box with his 'Field' art installation
by Bryony Jones
BBC Bristol website reporter

Let there be light... A field near Bristol has plenty of the stuff, even at the dead of night, thanks to an innovative new art exhibition.

Field, row upon row of striplights which light up and buzz underneath an electricity pylon, is the latest offering from Bristol-based artist Richard Box.

Richard studied in Winchester before settling in Bristol and finding a creative home at Spike Island.

In 2002 he became artist in residence at the University of Bristol's Physics Department.

Richard Box creates sculptures from electric lighting tubes

He has used the opportunity to develop a series of light sculptures, a number of which have focused on - and derived their power from - an electricity pylon on a hill between Bristol and Bath.

Past exhibits have featured neon brains, a running figure made of striplights, and a pine tree created from fluorescent tubes.

The latest exhibition sees thousands of glass striplights 'planted' into the ground near the pylon.

The tubes are powered by residual emmisions from the pylon, causing them to flicker and light up randomly as darkness falls.

Interactive experience

And for visitors to the otherwise anonymous field near the A46, the light sculpture is a thoroughly 'interactive' experience.

"You affect the lights by your proximity to them," explained Richard "Because you are a much better conductor than a glass tube.

"And there's sound as well as light - a crackling that corresponds to the flashing of the lights. There's a certain smell too, and your hair stands slightly on end."

If you fancy spending an illuminating evening at the Field exhibition, you will find it at the side of the A46, between Bristol and Bath.

From the car park 400 yards south of the M4, it is a 10-minute walk west and south along the Cotswold Way.

The organisers recommend visitors arrive at the site before sunset - and bring strong footwear, outdoor clothing and a torch to help you find the way back to the road.

And there is one other thing you may need - patience. The display from the light tubes will vary according to the weather conditions, so be prepared for a bit of a wait.

Field runs daily from 5pm to 8pm, until Saturday, March 6.

  Richard Box

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