Get your words up in lights on new Cambridge landmark

The public is being invited to be part of the creation of a major piece of public art that is set to become a landmark for the City.

The new work is being created for the new Triangle headquarters of Cambridge Assessment, the University’s exams board, at Shaftesbury Road Cambridge.  The work, by artists Vong Phaophanit and Claire Oboussier,will feature at the entrance and at the top of the building’s 39.1 m tower. Called ‘In Other Words’ the work will feature layer upon layer of script in different languages that will be printed onto glass and subtly lit from behind. The tower art will be a parchment colour and the 33m long entrance artwork will be in an indigo/inky shade (highlighting Cambridge Assessment’s academic links). Close up the script will be readable but from a distance the words will merge together to form an attractive piece of art. Explains Claire Oboussier: “We’ve done a lot of work using language, not just for its meaning, but also for its physical form. The work will feature dense layers of text and colour on the far sides, which will gradually fade as you reach the middle creating a vacuum or void where there will be no words. This creates a visual metaphor, possibly suggesting that there is a lot we don’t know or asking whether we should aspire to know everything.”

public art close up

Much of the script making up the work will come from Cambridge Assessment’s extensive archives, but the artists are now looking for words to be featured in the work, based on the question ‘What is knowledge?’ If you are interested in being part of the work you can send your contribution, which can be of any length or language to, putting ’What is knowledge?’ in the subject heading or via Twitter using #TriangleArt. Some of the international languages the artists are interested in receiving are Bengali, Gujarati, Punjabi, Thai, Burmese, Chinese, any languages that use the Perso-Arabic script, Sinhala (Sri Lanka), Tibetan and Bhutanese.

Adds Claire: “We are looking for words that are related to the idea of knowledge and how it is gained, translated and evolved. People have different ideas about what knowledge is and we want that to be reflected in the work. It is very important that people fall in love with it and feel part of it.”

Find out more about Vong & Claire, their work, their vision for ‘In Other Words’’ and how they are working towards creating it by watching this video interview with them at their studio: