Chinese Spring Lantern Festival, Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh.

22 Feb - 9 March 2008
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As the skies turned dark over the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, the magnificent glasshouses took on a new appearance as the historic structures were illuminated by bespoke interventions. Spirit marked Scotland’s first ever Chinese Spring Lantern Festival.

“The lantern festival was wonderful because of its beauty – the lighting highlighting the flowers. Dreamlike.”

NVA invited their viewers to be part of the work by walking through the glasshouses by night to witness the beauty of a gentle festival of light and sound. NVA, in collaboration with three artists – Kimho Ip, composer and musician; Phil Supple, lighting director; and James Johnson, lead designer – worked together to create a singular aesthetic in each glasshouse.

Kimho Ip’s compositions stretched and mutated the sound of a struck dulcimer creating beautifully atmospheric soundtracks. Phil Supple worked with the framing architecture of the Victorian glasshouses manipulating light and shadow, subtly moving between the enchanting and the edgy. James Johnson designed everything from large scale illuminated lily pads, to ‘spirit’ jars suspending seedpods and flowerheads in embalming fluid.

With strings of hand-painted lanterns, tea drinking and paper folding to make floating swans, Spirit embodied the historical and contemporary horticultural links between Scotland and China and drew positive critical attention.


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