Art Installation Sees 300 Illuminated Paper Boats Sail On Thames

Voyage, is an installation by Aether & Hemera consisting of 300 illuminated floating ‘paper boats, encased in coloured dynamic LED lights that come into their own at night, in the Middle Dock of Canary Wharf. The word ‘voyage’ comes from Latin ’viāticum’, which means ’provision for travelling’, and the aim of the artwork is to allow viewers to travel and sail with absolute freedom to all the places they care to imagine.

Colourful paper boats’ on the water invites everyone to make a transition from reality to imagination, reliving childhood memories and embracing our freedom; blurring the lines between the real and hyper-real, ‘Voyage’ invites the thoughts of the visitors to cross the borders of their imagination. Voyage installation is designed to be an interactive experience; people can engage with it and impact on the behaviour of the lights from  their mobile phone.

The art installation is a new work by Aether & Hemera in an artistic partnership between architect Claudio Benghi and lighting artist Gloria Ronchi and form a spectacular light show in the middle of the famous business and shopping district’s iconic skyscrapers. Every year Canary Wharf Group’s public art team curates a Winter Lights installation to enliven the dark evenings, as part of the year round programme of temporary and permanent visual arts.

Voyage has been installed until 15 February, with the lights coming on before dusk until 2am. The artists aim to use the work to provoke memories, explore aesthetic interaction, evoke memories of childhood and elicit feelings of connective human experiences from their audience. Sally Williams, Public Art Consultant at Canary Wharf Group, says: “Aether & Hemera are inviting passers-by on a journey from reality to imagination.

In Voyage they have created an interactive experience in which people living, working and visiting Canary Wharf can use their mobile phones to influence the movement and behaviour of the lights within the boats.” ‘Voyage’ marks the beginning of the 2013 Sculpture at Work exhibition programme at Canary Wharf, which will include shows from Nick Hornby and Sinta Tantra, Eilis O’Connell, Halima Cassell and The Ingram Collection of Modern British Art.

People passing close to the boats will be able to interact with the artwork to change colours and patterns. This can be done by connecting mobile devices to the Voyage Wi-Fi network, opening the web browser, going to and following the instructions. Aether and Hemera is a partnership of architect Claudio Benghi and lighting artist Gloria Ronchi.

Works by Aether & Hemera have been shown across the UK and in Italy since 2006. Recent exhibitions include: DLI Museum/Durham Art Gallery, 2011; Wolverhampton Art Gallery, 2010; Queen’s Hall Art Centre, Hexham, 2010; MART 09 at BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Newcastle Upon Tyne, 2009; Cannon Hall Museum in Barnsley, 2009; Lampugnani’s Castle, Subiate, Milan, Italy, 2006.

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