Ross Manning: Melody Lines


For this new co-commission under the auspices of Performance Space and Carriageworks, Ross Manning is creating his most ambitious work yet, “an expression of moving colour in space”. Known for his work with light, sound and sculptural interactive installations that engage the viewer physically as well as visually, Manning was offered the opportunity to work within the heritage Carriageworks building. His response will see the installation of an overhead conveyor belt as a complex circuit that hangs in space.

Coloured light will be filtered through moving circuitry above to create a changing environmental installation that will immerse and stimulate the viewer.

Inspired by scientific and neurological studies about the way the human brain perceives movement, Manning has developed this work to project over an area large enough to occupy the peripheral vision of the audience, and it utilises optical flashpoints. These move from left to right and right to left and vertically to create an “agitational turbulence of light”. Sunlight is used to activate the ambient light (through the building’s skylights) and the created environment is designed to envelop the viewer.

Ross Manning, Dichroic filter piece (extended projection) 2013 (detail), Ross Manning: Volumes PICA, 2013. Photo: Tony Nathan

“I am interested in the human relationship with technology, and the potency and urgency of electronic image. Yet our use of machines and our interventions with technology are largely confined and prescriptive.” Like new gaming technologies, Manning’s interest is in extending and developing technologies with explorations of their experiential possibilities that are tailored to an individual.

Manning is self-taught, with his background in electronics (as a TV repairman) and music. His artistic career evolved through the creation of self-playing instruments, with which he would perform. His compositions use coloured light as a sonic element and he sees “music and colour as interchangeable”.

Melody Lines
Ross Manning
21 October – 6 November

Preview Words by Louise Martin-Chew