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Article Image
Artist Kenny Hunter
Architect MAKE Architects
Client Core Development Partners
Date 2016
Location LSQ (48 Leicester Square, London)

Blackbird (the persistence of vision) is a total artwork in the form of a frieze, circumnavigating the LSQ building rather than occupying individual panels, it introduces a new horizontal and lyrical line to counterpoint the strong verticality and order of the existing architecture, opening up a new relationship between the building and its historical context.

This frieze has been influenced by the early development of cinema and in particular by the photographic studies of motion by Edward Muybridge. Persistence of vision refers to the optical illusion in film whereby rapidly changing, single images blend in the human mind into the perception of motion.

In the context of Leicester Square today, a focal point of contemporary cinema, sequential images of a bird in flight spaced around the building do not only suggest the origins of film but tap in to Leicester Squares longstanding association with popular culture and the spectacle originating from the 18th Century Leverian Museum of Natural History.

In the UK the adaptable Blackbird is both a resident and migratory species, appearing in Shakespeare plays, Beatles Lyrics and traditional nursery rhymes and therefore felt like a good choice for London. It is a popular bird with a recognizable and graphic quality that would help it to register visually over such a large building. The first floor window spaces that were inherited through the redevelopment of the building to create the frieze are varied in size and shape. This was used as an opportunity to show how a subject in motion appears on film as well as to further accentuate movement.

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Sam Wilkinson



InSite Arts

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