Winter Sparks, Liverpool

In line with the current season, FACT Liverpool presents: Winter Sparks. Running until 24 February, this interactive programme of works is literally electric. Visitors can expect to experience a personal light and sound show with electric sparks, interact with the charges from Tesla coils and explore the mysteries of the Wilberforce pendulum, which is all work from four emerging international artists, showcasing in the UK for the first time.

The thought behind Winter Sparks is the rejection of traditional understandings of the art gallery as being a space for contemplation and silence. Instead FACT seeks to take visitors on a journey through large-scale interactive installations. The huge selection of works takes over the entire building to ensure a complete immersion into the show. Experimenting with different environments, lights, sound, space and motion, Winter Sparks explores the relationship between art and science through the works of Canadian artist and composer Alexandre Burton, Dutch artist and academic Edwin van der Heide, and Spain-based Bosch & Simons, known for their complex “music machines”.

Taking different sections of the gallery, Gallery 1 exhibits Edwin van der Heide Evolving Spark Network which consists of a grid of electrical spark bridges. Serving as a metaphor for the human nervous system, the artist uses electrical sparks to represent beauty, purity and simplicity. Moving on to Gallery 2, is Alexandre Burton’s interactive Impacts. This live sculptural installation is made up of Tesla coils fitted with a glass pain and hung from the ceiling. The presence of the viewer activates and impressive audio and visual experience. Finally, Bosch & Simon’s Wilberforces appears. Examining the scientific phenomenon known as the Wilberforce Pendulum, the piece is made up of a hung spring with a central weight and two eccentric weights for calibration below it, once it is set in motion the pendulum’s movement can change from vertical motion into rotation without adding energy from an external source.

The collaborative interest of these four artists is the ambition to create a complex system in which various frequencies influence each other. Winter Sparks gives audiences an interactive experience and a unique confrontation with electricity.

Winter Sparks, until 24 February, FACT, 88 Wood Street, Liverpool, L14DQ.

1. Alexandre Burton, Impacts (2012), Interactive Installation at FACT, Photographer: Brian Slater
2. Edwin van der Heide, Evolving Spark Network (2012), Installation at FACT, Photographer: Brian Slater.
3. Alexandre Burton, Impacts (2012), Interactive Installation at FACT, Photographer: Brian Slater