The Star and the Glow Worm [2015]

37 minutes, live performance with five singers

The Star and the Glow Worm is a live work commissioned by AIR, Central Saint Martins as part of the Unannounced Acts programme in Granary Square, Kings Cross. It was performed between 4.12am and 5.03am - the dawn ‘magic hour’ - on the 18th May 2015, and takes as its prompt a poem by William Wordsworth, 'The Pilgrim's Dream; or, The Star and the Glow Worm'[1818], in which a pilgrim, sleeping beneath the cover of a tree, falls into a “soft and slumbrous dream” where a star in the night-sky and glow-worm in the nook of the tree converse. The poem consists of nine stanzas, and was set to a score by composer Leo Chadburn, that made subtle reference to the medieval polyphony of Machaut and Pérotin. It was sung by five performers, who moved through the square over the course of 37 minutes, as the natural light shifted from ‘civil twilight’ to sunrise. Each performer was illuminated by a small reading light, attached to their script, so that they themselves became bioluminescent organisms.

The work develops out of research around the invisible labour of the night-shift, and circadian rhythms reconfigured within contemporary technological culture.

Response text by Mary Paterson > and 'Unannounced Acts' review by Larne Abse Gogarty in Art Monthly >


Image: Frances Scott 'The Star and the Glow Worm' [2015], performance documentation