Pillar of Light spirals into London's skyline to commemorate WW1
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Pillar of Light spirals into London's skyline to commemorate WW1

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To commemorate the centenary of the First World War, a monumental pillar of light was shot into the air last night, eerily hung amongst London’s famous skyline.

Together with the nation's Lights Out initiative, which saw households and businesses across the UK extinguishing all but one of their lights at 10pm last night (4th August), acclaimed artist Ryoji Ikeda’s latest installation lit up a corner of Westminster and spread 15km into the sky.

Called Spectra, Ikeda’s installation consists of 49 high-powered static search lights, beaming into the night sky placed on a twenty metre grid which will be lit from dusk until dawn for the next seven nights. Spectra is now open to visitors; one can walk in between the lights, listening to a soundtrack composed by Ikeda, allowing a fully immersive space for reflection and wonder.

Presented by Artangel and co-commissioned by the mayor of London, 14-18 NOW and WW1 Centenary Art Commissions, the project was kept secret until its surprise reveal last night.

The mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: “The light that spectra throws up into the night sky is a unifying point. It echoes how the First World War affected all Londoners, but also how they and the rest of the country came together, standing united during those dark days.”

With Ikeda’s installation offering the chance to ‘look listen and wonder’, Spectra, is one of several projects taking place to commemorate the centenary of WW1, yesterday 888,246 ceramic poppies were placed in the moat of the Tower of London to symbolise every Briton that fell during the conflict.

As Viscount Grey’s famous remark goes, “the lamps are going out all over Europe, we shall not see them lit again in our lifetime.” London is not only marking the centenary of WW1, but demonstrating how the country came together at that time, and offering a shining beacon of hope for the future.

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To commemorate the centenary of the First World War, a monumental pillar of light was shot into the air last night, eerily hung amongst London’s famous skyline.
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