Luke Jerram is an internationally established
artist, working at all scales from a vast hot air balloon performance
artwork, ‘Sky Orchestra’ to
a ‘Talking Engagement Ring’ he made for his girlfriend. Luke
is currently the Arts and Science Research Fellow at University of Bristol
and has recently been awarded the Clark Digital Bursary Award.
Vision was a Brunel 200 commission and collaboration between Luke
and the composer Dan Jones. Dan Jones has written scores for films such
as the Oscar-nominated Shadow of the Vampire starring
John Malkovich, and more recently Max starring
John Cusack, (Best Film Score Ivor Novello Awards 2004). His television
work includes music for David Attenborough's
Life of Mammals and
he is co-artistic director of sound-lead theatre company Sound and Fury.
place for seven nights and at over ½ km long, Tunnel
one of the largest installation artworks ever seen in the South West.
Investigating Brunel’s failed project the Atmospheric Railway,
the artwork sought to fuse architecture, candlelight (there were 2,550
candles lit!), surround sound and the viewer’s imagination.
The artwork used
an array of speakers along the roof of the tunnel (the tunnel is 530
metres long and 8 metres high) the artwork attempted to recreate Brunel's
Atmospheric Railway in surround sound. Trains appeared to move along
the length of the space, passing through any visitors present. Through
multi-layered use of abstract sound Tunnel Vision evoked the night time
imagery that may have haunted Brunel through the worry and stress of
The Atmospheric Railway was a new type of train developed
by Brunel. Tested in the South West of England between 1847-8 the trains
were powered by compressed air which literally blew the carriages along
the track. The project failed for a number of different reasons including
the fact that rats ate the leather seal on the air tight tube which ran
along the length of the track. Horses often had to be brought in to tow
the train and sometimes even the passengers had to get out and push!
said: “Tunnel Vision has been inspired through studying Brunel’s
archives and getting a sense of his personality as a stubbornly ambitious
and determined man.”
“This ½ km long tunnel is an extraordinary
acoustic space in which to create a moving sound piece”, said Dan
One of 4,400 recorded visitors, a local resident
the train came through we couldn’t help but get out of the way.
The atmosphere is absolutely magical.”
Carol, aged 70, said: “It
gave me the collywobbles.”
For more information on Luke’s
work and ongoing projects: www.lukejerram.com
Photography: Mark Simmons.