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GNI Staying Alight

Posted by Graham Rollins on 11 Feb 2022

Our creative director Graham Rollins’s work ‘Staying Alight’ has been shortlisted for the Darc Awards with his artistic company GNI Projects. The piece has been shortlisted in the ‘Art – Low Budget’ category and the awards website can be viewed here.

A video including immersive sound design for the piece can be viewed on the GNI Projects Vimeo page, and further images and information about the arts emotive content can be viewed below.

‘Staying Alight’ is an interactive light and sound installation, commissioned uniquely for ‘Circuit Secrete’ Murten, Switzerland. The piece welcomes back small groups to interact with each other, encouraging them to immerse in and share a unique sensory experience as we strive to return to a new normal.

After discovering the door and using the key, visitors descend the stair to the dark medieval stone chamber. Using low intensity blue floor lighting as a guide visitors enter the space exploring its boundaries, until the sensors react to their presence.

The 2m x 2m zone protecting the heart is marked in light by its corners reminiscent of social distancing protecting people that we love, but the heart is not yet visible. As people move closer the heart gradually reveals itself, line by line encouraging people closer as if gathering around a fire or mesmerised by its glowing pulsing spell. Each strand is perceived perfectly straight and hair thin like a bare laser, is actually formed from a single glass fibre less than 1mm in diameter. The heart floats as if suspended by it extremities, gradually building, slowly beating, calming, welcoming and soothing until fully activated by peoples togetherness. As visitors reach the 2m zone the heart comes to life, pulsing brightly in celebration.


The fiber optics are woven around a minimal non-reflecting black frame that is almost invisible creating what appears like an ever changing ball of illuminated strings from most viewing angles. The lines reveal themselves as an abstract heart shape when viewed straight on.    

The pieces was conceived as an all new extension to the GNI Projects ‘Light Loves Collection’ and in response to the emotional effects of the pandemic. In these times of uncertainty our emotional strength and our connections to others has been tested like never before, and our hearts and feelings have struggled to find their way in occasions of isolation, sadness or confusion. The iconic heart that was once completed by holding the hand of another has become weakened or faint during times of social distancing, but it has not been broken. ‘Staying Alight’ welcomes people back to cautiously and respectfully remember the friends they have missed or people they have lost, reaffirming the love they find in their own hearts.

The heart can be seen to change, fade and deconstruct as it endeavours to stay strong during this challenging period, only to recover and pulse brightly as people are brought closer together by its display. Visitors can see how their actions and interactions can affect the emotions of others and brightness of the heart, as they move around the piece exploring the space.

Music by sound designer Ben Stephens reaffirms the womb like serenity and welcoming aura of the space, with elements of excitement and exuberance in phases as people enjoy reconnecting. Sound plays on an endless loop building and deconstructing in complement to the interaction provided by sensors. GNI give thanks to Ben Stephens for sound design and Andy Wilde for interactive programming.