Connecting Light

September 1, 2012

Tonight we went to see the Connecting Light Exhibition. This started yesterday and finishes tonight as part of the London 2012 Festival. The idea is that messages will be sent along the length of Hadrian’s Wall using a series of 400 tethered weather balloons which are lit by LED lights. Hadrian’s Wall will become a length of different colours as the balloons are used to send messages along the length of the wall. You can send messages remotely via the internet and also view it online.

We went along to Segedunum Roman Fort to view it. I would have liked to go right up into the countryside along Hadrian’s Wall but felt this was not really feasible. Segedunum Roman Fort is actually quite close by us in Wallsend, strangely enough called Wallsend because it is at the eastern end of Hadrian’s Wall. Segedunum is one the most excavated Roman Fort on the length of Hadrian’s Wall. It also has a viewing tower so you get an elevated view of the fort as well as a complete replica of a Roman bath house.

Connecting LightWhen we got there the sun was starting to set and we could see the balloons tethered in the roman excavations. At this point one of the balloons had not been elevated and people were busy inflating it with what looked a bit like a leaf blower. The sun had only just started to set when we got there so we took the opportunity to look around the museum.

Connecting LightThis is a close up of one of the weather balloons before they were lit up. As you can see it must have taken a fair amount of work to get 400 of these set up along the length of the wall.

Inside the museum you had the opportunity to send a message along the wall. You got the choice of different coloured balloons which you had to inflate. Before they were fully inflated you needed to add a glow stick inside to make it light up in the dark. There was a little bit of a knack to doing this but we got there in the end. When the balloon was fully inflated you had to write a message on it and this would be sent along the wall at some later point in the evening. It is exciting to know that the message we wrote on that balloon will travel some 73 miles along the length of Hadrian’s Wall via the Connecting Light exhibition.

We waited until it got darker to take a few more photographs. This is one time when I wished I had a camera that did more detailed zoom. We were not allowed on the site for a close up and the reality looked much better than the photographs.

Connecting Light

Connecting LightYou still get an idea of what it looked like though. Behind us was a very large yellow full moon which added to the atmosphere and I would have loved to wait until it was completely dark to get the full effect of the Connecting Light Exhibition. I had my son with me so I did not want to be out too late but I am glad we made the effort to go and see it. It was a very interesting experience.


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