Underglow

Drain

2005-06

Commissioned by The Corporation of London and Modus Operandi for Light Up Queen Street

Drain

One of 4 works commissioned by the Corporation of London as part of a new ‘Light Up Queen Street’ annual programme of winter commissions, Underglow illuminated a number of separate gullies (drains) in the vicinity of Guildhall Yard, King Street and Queen Street and were visible from dusk to dawn from November 2005 until February 2006.

Susan Collins works across a range of media, often in public and site-specific locations. For Light Up Queen Street she has focused on the hidden world beneath our feet, illuminating the network of drains and gullies which service the streets. Light glows and leaks through the grilles, gradually shifting through a spectra of intense colours, giving the impression that these vents breathe and pulse with alien life. Light is used to draw our imaginations into an underground world below street level, following the disappearing path of the city’s waste.
- Modus Operandi

Drain

[...]…Of the illuminations currently to be seen in the City of London, none is better than the simplest, and probably cheapest: Susan Collins’s installation in the drains. By the straight-forward device of placing coloured lights beneath the drain covers in the road, the weirdest effect is achieved. In a part of the City where the last time they dug a decent-sized hole they found a Roman amphitheatre, there is something profound about the gesture, as if the Ghost of Christmas Past (or maybe Future) were rising up to haunt us. In some places the lights are blue, in others red – and the thickly painted yellow traffic lines on the road appear to be dripping into a crater of molten lava. Ominous.
- Edwin Heathcote, Financial Times, December 14th 2005

Drain
Photo © Richard Davies

Underglow was produced in cooperation with Art Consultant Modus Operandi; the Corporation of London’s electrical contractors and drain engineers and Mark Sutton Vane Lighting Consultants.

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Drain
Photo © Richard Davies