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Ron Haselden
Haselden is perhaps most well-known for his use of flashing lights as a medium. One of his most beautiful installations was Coliseum I (1989).

This could only be seen at night through the windows of the Showroom Gallery in Bethnal Green. It was a light piece, including three large upright circles of lights which 'appeared to spin and also to run back and forth through the space.' A message posted through the door one night read

'Dear Mr. Light Fantastic, please do more of these, they warm us up on our winter evenings.'

One should note that lights in Haselden's work always, in some sense, move, and it is this movement, as much as the light itself, which is important. Other kinds of movement have also been important. To give one example, another successful piece was Working 12 Days (ACME Gallery, 1978).

This 'was a lifeboat I chainsawed up. It had a motor attached to it, so that it vibrated. It was quite claustrophobic in the gallery.'

The kinetic possibilities of sculpture were also explored in other ways: some pieces involved the use of machinery, of a turning axle or spindle. In, for example, Syracuse Elm (filmed by David Hilton) there was a large turning spindle to which the branch of a tree was attached. The branch was also attached to walls and ceiling with bandage-like cloth ligaments. The progressive attachment of these and the resultant movement constituted the piece.

However, there is another way of looking at the movement, and the concentration on the ephemeral in Haselden's work. These fluid elements are often a counterbalance to a particular kind of weight and solidity. Graving Dock (1981) consisted of dense scaffolding inside the ACME Gallery, filling the gallery. The solidity of the piece was offset by a more transient, natural, element: Haselden plumbed in a spray of water, creating dripping and flooding in the gallery, as if to bring an aspect of life and time to the still structure. The water also had the effect of making this indoor piece resemble an outdoor one. Haselden's longstanding interest in water - rivers, the sea, boats - may be invoked here, and Graving Dock was based on drawings of the graving docks of shipyards.

Another aspect of the 'fluidity' of Haselden's working methods is his predeliction for collaborative work. Entre Nuit et Jour (1992) was made in collaboration with musician and sound artist Peter Cusack. It was a 'triptych': a three-part light work with sheets of metal laid on the floor under which were flashing lights - a different colour for each part - and matched up with sound recordings of nightingales, bees, and owls: each part of the piece representing a different time of day or night. Frère Jacques was another collaborative piece with Peter Cusack, and it represents Haselden's methods well. It was collaborative, interactive, and layered in time. It's chief elements were sound and light. Its subject was people. A 'curtain' of lights, and the sound of local children singing 'Frère Jacques', were both activated by the presence of the viewer. And the more viewers there were in the space, the more children sang.

Haselden's work with choreographers has been another aspect of his collaborative work. Notable was a collaboration with Rosemary Butcher on After the Crying and the Shouting (ICA London, 1989). This was a light piece as set design. Later, in 1992-93 he worked with her on 'Wasps'. His work with architects and on architectural sites also involves various kinds of collaborative mindset. A simple, one might say 'classical' Haselden 'architectural' piece is that made for the walls of the passageway between the Imax cinema near Waterloo and the South Bank in London. Blue Passage (1999) consists of 8000 blue LEDs sunk into holes in the walls of the underground walkway.

Coliseum II at The Kings' Cross Automatic Gear Box Centre, London, by Ron Haselden, 1989
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