Waterlicht at Winnat’s Pass

It’s not often we experience contemporary art in the depths of the Peak District, so last week’s light installation Waterlicht, by Dutch designer Daan Roosegaarde, was something of an event. Set in the dramatic cleft of Winnat’s Pass, smoke and lights flooded the ravine, giving the impression of undulating waves washing over those below.

Roosegaarde created the piece to visualise how high water levels may have reached without intervention, particularly fitting in a valley once submerged beneath a tropical sea. For those who walked up the Pass (in itself a treat – the road is otherwise the domain of tourist traffic and kamikaze sheep), the effect was calming, tranquil. With a clear sky brimming with stars above the waves, the magic was complete. Far from being a cautionary tale about man’s whisper of a defence against rising sea levels, Waterlicht made the idea of giving the earth back to the water rather appealing.

Note: The video above (a pretty poor attempt at capturing the full beauty of the installation I’m afraid) uses the wonderful In the Cave by Pepe Deluxe as its soundtrack. The piece is the first composition ever written for the Great Stalacpipe Organ in the underground caverns of Luray in Virginia – the world’s biggest musical instrument. It’s eery tones, made by rubber mallets hitting tuned stalactites, are a perfect accompaniment to the other-wordly formations of Waterlicht, and bring to mind the vast network of caves that lie beneath Winnat’s Pass.

You can hear In the Cave in full as part of the Curious Playlist.

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