To be honest I nearly didn’t make it to the unveiling of Breaking Reverie installation! It rained all day, and the rain hit even harder after 6pm when I was packing my camera bag for the evening. As I peered through the misted window on the landing and kept changing my mind every ten minutes, John suddenly came up to me and asked: “Would it help you to decide if I go with you?”


Of course, we went together and joined a group of die-hard art and music lovers who gathered at the newly refurbished Oven building to celebrate Dumfries Music Conference 2018 programme launch. It’s DMC’s 6th year of running and it was great to see some of my work on display, included in a little photo exhibition from the conference archive.

Breaking Reverie is a moving light sculpture by a Glasgow-based visual artist Heather Lander, with music by an award-winning Scottish experimental composer Michael Begg. A video loop of virtual landscapes, natural phenomena and elements of ink drawing was projected onto a three-dimensional reflective medium to induce hypnotic kaleidoscopic effect.

According to Sonica that brought Breaking Reverie on tour to Dumfries in conjunction with The Stove Network,

Heather Lander’s new work … reflects on the natural world, with a view to understanding the ways in which the virtual will change our perception of the self and our physical landscape.

The Vimeo recording of the work shows Breaking Reverie mapped exactly onto three reflective surfaces to enhance the immersive experience. Indeed, at the Oven show some little attendees instinctively glued their noses to the window to engage with the colourful geometric permutations better.

However, at some viewing angles of the Dumfries version of the installation there was a sliver of glass surface left unmapped, which introduced a curious serendipitous human element to Breaking Reverie, as reflections of the people who passed the entrance were caught.

Moreover, as we stood in the rain outside to view this hybrid artwork, it suddenly occurred to me that parts of Dumfries buildings and street lights  also reflected in the Oven’s window, proving an interesting urban visual context.

The very fact that Heather’s art work was installed to interface with the street through the window, and was meant to be running continuously after dark, brought the night town into equation, breaking the virtual illusion and forcing the viewer to account to the real world as well.

Whether the urban dimension to Breaking Reverie was accidental or intentional, we could only praise Dumfries Music Conference and the Stove for opening a piece of experimental art to the street and bringing more cultural diversity to our town.

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