Moonbrella is a light installation commissioned by Shrinking Space and the British Science Association for the 2016 British Science Festival event “Creatures of the Night”.

Why the moon?

The moon is our most familiar night-time companion, studied for as long as humans have been around to observe it. Over millennia it has inspired myths and stories, and we can each experience its pull and power over natural cycles. In modern times has been mapped, visited and analysed, so what does it inspire now we know so much about it?

Our inspiration was the fact that of over 600 craters on the moon that are named after real people, just 29 are named after women. Moonbrella evokes the lives of some of these women by giving participants a private audience with their story.

What is a Moonbrella?

A Moonbrella is a transluscent white umbrella, illuminated and dressed to create an immersive, portable, personal space that audience members can carry around. It contains an mp3 player and headphones to allow an audience to listen to poems relating to the person illustrated in the Moonbrella.

Putting Moonbrella together

We worked with poet Thommie Gillow to bring the stories to life. She created 9 different poems featuring 11 of the 29 women. Thommie recorded herself performing the poems and we added soundscapes using music and found sounds relevant to each story. Each recording was then installed into its own Moonbrella which was dressed to illustrate aspects of the life of the person/people featured in the poem.

So you want to have Moonbrella at your event? (pdf)

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