Reflections in the Cathedral Refectory

WORLD-famous light installation artist Bruce Munro is on Wiltshire home ground with his latest work, Confluence, created for Salisbury Cathedral’s Refectory restaurant.

Confluence, a shimmering display of five large panels, each made up of 240 colourful recycled CDs, was inspired the Cathedral’s site at the confluence of five rivers – the Avon and its tributaries the Nadder, Ebble, Wylye and Bourne.

Each individually coloured 3m x 1.25m panel represents one of the five rivers. For those able to spot it, the letter ‘c’ (the universal symbol for the speed of light) is captured in Morse code, adding another layer and meaning to the piece.

Bruce Munro says: “The piece is designed to evoke a sense of light on moving water, using the reflective properties of the humble CD. They are extraordinary objects, both because of the optical effect produced when they encounter light, and the information written into them. They are one of those everyday objects that go unnoticed, whilst being intrinsically very beautiful and expressive.”

Confluence was created specifically for the Cathedral Refectory, harnessing the natural light that pours through the restaurant’s glass roof and the reflective surface of the CDs to create the illusion of movement. Just as water reflects and changes as it flows, so the panels acknowledge the changing light, and alter as the viewer moves.

It is not the first time that Bruce has used CDs as an inspiration. In June 2010, he created an inland sea on a field in Wiltshire, using 600,000 recycled compact disks. Inspired by a memory of light playing on the sea in Sydney a decade before, he used the CDs to replicate the effect and the moment back home in rural Wiltshire.

He has since returned to that theme a number of times in other light and water themed installations, including Waterlilies (2012), Blue Moon on a Platter and Angel of Light (2013) and most recently The Ferryman’s Crossing in 2015.