In ChesterEvents

Chester Cathedral is the venue for Once a Desert, a stunning large-scale video, sound and light installation created especially for this magnificent space by artists Heinrich & Palmer.

Filling the majestic interior of the cathedral with a 17.5m-high voile hanging from its vaulted ceiling, Once a Desert uses high speed film and animated point cloud imagery created from 3D laser scans of the cathedral to produce an awe-inspiring work of art accompanied by a mesmerizing soundscape.

Reminiscent of a Renaissance painting, the spectacular 3D scans of the cathedral reveal architectural connections between the cathedral’s spaces that are normally hidden from view. The ethereal effect of light and sound will make visitors feel at one with the space and its ancient history.

The installation harks back to a time when the rock used to construct the Cathedral was laid down in the Triassic period, 200 million years ago, when this country was a desert lying to the south of the Sahara. In the Middle Ages, this rock was brought from quarries nearby to build this ancient and beautiful monument.

This ancient geology, the pinkish red mellow sandstone of this grand cathedral, are lit to spectacular effect evoking the nature of the cathedral space deep in time, from the creation of its stone to the present day. We see the sands of time falling in front of us and in the blink of an eye, we’re standing here in 2022.

Once a Desert is an ethereal journey that celebrates the history of this ancient space, revealing the cathedral as it’s never been seen before. It’s a unique work of art for Chester.

Once a Desert is a new work commissioned especially for the cathedral and for Chester as part of Refresh, a programme of new arts and culture that welcomes everyone back into the city.

Councillor Louise Gittins, Leader of Cheshire West and Chester Council said: “Our Refresh Cultural recovery programme is now bringing a unique art installation to Chester. This is such an exciting artwork for the Cathedral and the city. 

Chester Cathedral has built a reputation over the years for hosting spectacular art and I’m sure Once a Desert will add to this reputation. Chester has seen visitor numbers steadily increasing following the pandemic as the city welcomes more events and activities.”

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Once a Desert
Art Installation
Once a Desert

Chester Cathedral is the venue for Once a Desert, a stunning large-scale video, sound and light installation created especially for this magnificent space by artists Heinrich & Palmer.

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