Murmuration at Greenbelt 2017

Murmuration at Greenbelt 2017

One of the most amazing things about this year’s festival was Murmuration, a commissioned, site-specific installation of delicate birds, suspended above the walkway towards the ‘Other Side of the Lake’.

Conceived, designed and installed by light artist Nicola Haines, Murmuration comprised a set of 100 intricately stenciled birds that swooped overhead in a suspended swirling murmuration over a 25-metre walkway. At dusk, the birds were illuminated, changing colour in unison to give the illusion of flight, mirroring the crowds of people as they walked together below, to retreat to the other side of the lake for contemplation. 

In commissioning the work, Paul Northup, Greenbelt’s Creative Director had said to Nicola: “A murmuration is something ephemeral, rare, yet deeply beautiful and deeply affecting. In this way, we are suggesting that the festival experience – and the experience of retreat and reflection within it – although transient, can yet add real strength, purpose and lasting impact. The bird is a universal natural metaphor for peace and the presence of the spirit. A flock of birds dancing in formation can be seen as a mesmerizing expression of spiritual unity. As we all come together to enjoy the unique experience that is the Greenbelt Festival, the image remind us of the pressing need for all people to come together in love at this time.” 

The maker of Murmuration is Nicola Marie Haines – an Artist, Interior Design Architect and Teacher who has designed art installations for festivals and events in New Zealand for the past 10 years. Drawing on 25 years of experience in the creative industry, Nicola produces large-scale sculptural pieces for light and music festivals, and landscape projects.

She has designed and implemented installations for the Festival of Lights, New Plymouth, NZ, since 2007 – where her work has contributed significantly to the festival’s popularity. Considered a major summer cultural event since 1993, the festival now attracts 100,000 people annually. Her installations have also been featured at the Botanic Gardens, Wellington and Brick Bay Sculpture Trail, Warkworth, Auckland.

Nicola’s installations explore the structural complexity of the natural world and our deep relationship with it. They work as an intimate and surreal platform to reflect on our fragile and precious natural environment, while playing on the sheer childlike excitement of being in the forest late at night.

We hope you enjoyed Murmuration at this year’s festival. You can see a section of photos of it here.