The Ripple Effect

A series of art inspired by Lacock and the theme of peace

The Chaplain's Room is off the south west corner of the cloister.  This enigmatic square room with the eight arches peeling off a central pillar, was the site of a striking, reflective and immersive experience for visitors to Lacock Abbey for it's first in a series of contemporary art works on the theme 'peace'.

A series of contemporary artists have been commissioned to develop art projects which reflect on the theme of peace from a contemporary perspective. Peace understood not as an object, rather as a process of interaction and communication. The thought provoking projects consider what peace is and can be in the context of Lacock. Founded as a nunnery by Ela, one of the most powerful women of the Middle Ages, Lacock Abbey has been a place of contemplation for 800 years.

In 2018 and 2019 the series of artwork will be on staggered displayed at Lacock, with the first installed in September until November 2018, the second installed spring/summer 2019 and the final piece in Autumn 2019.

The first of these artworks, 'The Ripple Effect' from artists Heinrich & Palmer, is an installation created for The Chaplains’ Room at Lacock Abbey, inspired by the architecture of the medieval cloisters and its legacy as a place for contemplation. The installation coincides with the centenary of Armistice Day.

The name of the artwork ‘The Ripple Effect’, on one level describes the qualities of the installation, but also alludes to the idea that any action is interconnected and can have a far reaching effect. 

Artists' Anna Heinrich and Leon Palmer
Artists' Anna Heinrich and Leon Palmer
Artists' Anna Heinrich and Leon Palmer

The Artwork

The artists Heinrich & Palmer have created a floor of white silk which has been cut and sewn to fit around the central stone pillar and main area of the Chaplains' Room.   A series of fans set around the edge of the installation cause waves to ripple through the whole of the silk floor like a single body of water.  The breeze filtering through from the outside and the moisture and circulation of air within the confines of the room all cause variations in the flow and movement of the silk.

The edge of the installation cuts diagonally across the room from the entrance to the far corner leaving a narrow section of the floor uncovered so visitors can view and become immersed in the artwork.

Why Silk?

Silk has been chosen for its material qualities, but also for its associations with Armistice and its use in times of conflict and peace during and after the two World Wars.  Armistice Silk - a refinished silk made from the 18 million yards of surplus silk cartridge cloth at the end of World War 1 and the silk military parachutes, were both used to make clothes during and after the war.

" The idea in itself is quite simple, but it has taken a few trials and errors with different fabrics and fans to get to this point. "
- Heinrich & Palmer

What about the soundscape?

The soundscape has been composed from sounds recorded around Lacock during the last few months and layered to gradually build up, then fall away quickly to induce a sense of silence. The use of headphones is to create a solitary context for experiencing the work, cut off from the ambient sounds in the room.

Latest updates

06 Sep 18

Adding the finishing touches

Working to put the finishing touches to our installation, The Ripple Effect which includes a headphone soundscape, created for the enigmatic and unique 13th century Chaplains’ Room in the Cloisters.

Checking and adding the finishing touches to The Ripple Effect at Lacock Abbey

26 Aug 18

Observing the movement of the silk

The following day was just spent observing the movements of the silk and adjusting the fabric with weights around the edge to see the different effects. If the silk is held down too tightly it just kills the energy of the waves, so it was a fine balance to get it right.

Leon observing the movements of the silk after the installation of The Ripple Effect

25 Aug 18

Setting up The Ripple Effect

Last weekend Heinrich & Palmer began the set-up of The Ripple Effect, the installation they are creating for the Chaplain’s Room. The silk was made up to be oversized in length so that they could see the effect of the silk in the space and adjust it on site. Most of the fabric was pre-sewn except the area where the central stone pillar is. This had to be cut out and hand sewn around the pillar.

Testing the silk fabric in the Chaplains’ Room