IT’S like this: the installation called “Enlightenment” in the cathedral’s north porch contains 6,000 suspended lights. These continuously change colour, interacting with the audience as it moves among them. An explanatory banner tells us: “Best viewed after dark”.

Here’s the bad news: after dark, the porch gates are locked. “We warmly invite you to move into this body of light…feel free to touch the light strands…” it says on the banner. Not possible.

I saw the installation first during daylight, and in ignorance returned after dark to see it at its best, bringing others with me.

The good news is that it looks fantastic, even in daylight, and well worth going to see. After dark it looks a bit showy. Surrounded by the lights, you get more sense of wonder and contemplation, enlightenment even. I thought the accompanying sound piece a bit ordinary, but the installation itself could hardly have found a better setting.

I understand there must be difficulties in arranging access at late hours, so I take stronger issue with the claim that “the artwork is concerned with the ripple effect of Magna Carta…”. Really? A quick glance at the maker’s website reveals that more or less the same installation has been used in quite a few different contexts already.

Enlightenment is one of five projects commissioned by the cathedral to mark the Magna Carta anniversary. There is another light installation by the same maker called The Power of Words in the Morning Chapel; a banner project, Rights and Responsibilities led by David Podger of New Red Studios and Alternative Perspectives, the result of workshops with men at Erlestoke Prison.

All these are in place right through the summer, while the fifth project, World’s Eye, a field of garish banners opposite the West Front, has left already.

I continue to see reminders on social media about the plight of Salisbury Arts Centre losing its local funding, but haven’t yet noticed much support of events. I attended two in one weekend. A Sunday night film attracted an audience of about a dozen. This was no obscure art film, but “Trash” directed by Billy Elliot Four Weddings and Love Actually fame.

The other event was Friday night’s Altar Club. Again there was a poor turnout, but I’m not really surprised as every time I’ve been the sound quality has been terrible, and harmfully loud. Next time I’ll be taking a decibel meter to see just how harmful the level is.

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