Angela Bulloch was invited by Hilde Teerlinck, Director of Frac Nord-Pas de Calais, to create a lasting in situ intervention. This work, entitled Blowing in the Wind, has been funded in its entirety by the programme Dunkerque 2013, Capitale régionale de la culture. Knowing the history of the site and the importance of the ‘Cathedral’ for local residents, Bulloch highlights the architecture of the AP2 hangar, Dunkirk’s industrial heritage and the history of the Ateliers et chantiers navals de France shipbuilding yards. Her unobtrusive intervention – consisting only in an interactive coloured tracing – highlights the site’s importance without directly disturbing its appearance.
Angela Bulloch has chosen to cast on the building façade the light of two spotlights in such a way that visitors can see them like in a theatrical performance, highlighting the various protagonists whose intervention should not be missed. They are installed in the courtyard in front of the façade in a concrete protective housing. Responding to the fact that her work consists in transcribing data into illuminated animation, the movement of the spotlights instantly conveys the data perceived and recorded by an anemometer attached to the top of the AP2 hangar’s façade. The façade itself has become a mapping of the direction of the wind: when it comes from the north, the discs of light is located at the top of the façade, and so on for the other cardinal points. A weathervane, attached to the anemometer, confirms these tendencies by enlarging the surface area in which the spotlights move according to the intensity of the wind. Between Bulloch’s first and second visit to the site, she came up with the idea of a clock to give cadence to the programme for seven hours. Each colour – red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet – represents one hour, between 6:00 p.m. and 1:00 a.m., and then all these colours of the rainbow are run through in one minute before resuming the next day. It is thus a simple matter, for those who make a note of the hour associated with each colour, to know the time by looking in the direction of the AP2 hangar. In this way it is reminiscent of the noise that once emanated from the site, ticking off the working days of the workers in Dunkirk’s shipbuilding yards. Two webcams are installed in the concrete housing: one retransmits live the effects of the work to the artist’s studio in Berlin, opening the possibility of an intervention in the programming, while the other invites anyone anywhere in the world to view, on a web site linked to that of the Frac, an image of the façade, day and night, letting them discover the beauty of the site sublimated by this lighting.
Frac Nord-Pas de Calais holds a piece by Angela Bulloch in its collection, entitled Grandstand and the Marxist Myth (A Light Lowered, A Floor Raised, A Sound Bounced) (1996), an interactive multimedia installation acquired in 1998. Now Blowing in the Wind joins the collection in turn.
Angela Bulloch was born in 1966 in Rainy River, Ontario, Canada. She studied art from 1984 to 1988 at Goldsmiths College in London, England. She first exhibited her work in the exhibition “Freeze” upon completion of her studies. Her work is a critical rereading of 1960s conceptual and minimal art, using the most advanced digital and electronic techniques. In her art, light, sound, video, texts and objects are made to interact in order to explore the way we perceive and interpret different kinds of information, examining the notion of authorship and the perception of time.
Since 2000, her projects include ‘Pixel Boxes’, small light boxes programmed at a precise rhythm and capable of generating 16 million different colours. Her piece Hybrid Song Box.4 (2008) can be found in the collection of the Musée National d’art moderne/Centre de création industrielle in Paris.
She currently lives and works in London, England, and Berlin, Germany.