Pipe Dream

2003, City and Islington College, London
Clear blue and clear red neon
Commissioned by City and Islington College and Modus Operandi Art Consultants
Architect: Wilkinson Eyre

Pipedream has no tangible beginning or end and no obvious function. The pipes of light simply start out of nothing in the front atrium of the building they inhabit. Circuits with no source, they inhabit the space at different levels, floating and creating a feeling of lost purpose. They then come together on the back wall of the first atrium, a mass of neon pipe work ‘crowding’ through the central arch into the original, Victorian space beyond. Here they reform into a regimented line, stacking one above the other, and change colour from blue to red. They diagonally intersect the space until they disappear into the wall to reemerge the other side. At this point they transform again, twisting in unison into a vast column of light which ascends the full height of the second, internal atrium.  This glowing neon cylinder accentuates the vertiginous height of this idiosyncratic internal space and is visible from a multitude of different points, the lift, the bridges, the spaces left by the original windows etc. Finally, it passes into the roof space and emerges in the pitched roof area, where its tip is visible from the top bridge, a towering chimney of light, emitting its energy back into the space to continue circulating.