A parallel Worlds

Sunday January 22 2012 / Science & Technology

Artists Heather and Ivan Morison have collaborated with architectural designer Sash Reading to create an amazing sculptural work that can fly like a kite.

Christened Little Shining Man, the sculpture has also been complemented by an equally impressive video which shows the spectacular creation take flight at sundown above the beaches of Jersey, the biggest of the Channel Islands (between Britain and France).

Littel Shining Man

Elegant yet robust, Little Shining Man was commissioned by luxury property developers Dandara and manufactured by Queen & Crawford, a Birmingham-based Design and Fabrication Workshop.

Its structure is based around the tetra kites developed by Alexander Graham Bell, multiplied out into colliding cubes, the form of which is inspired by the natural cubic formations of the mineral pyrite.

There were several challenges involved in creating Little Shining Man, which contains 23,000 individual components overall and took 16 months to develop.

Little Shining Man

The structure had to be very strong yet as lightweight as possible to enable it to fly and return to the ground again with minimal damage so it could be installed as an artwork afterwards.

State-of-art carbon fibre rods were therefore chosen in addition to a hand-made composite fabric – Cuben Fibre – normally used for yacht sails, as well as specially designed, 3-D printed nylon connectors. The ensemble allows Little Shining Man to float across the sky as if weightless. 

Little Shining Man

The flying sculpture in these photos is just one section of an arrangement of three pieces, forming a final piece of art which has been suspended in the atrium of Dandara's Castle Quay development in St. Helier, Jersey.

In addition to being a permanent piece of sculpture, it will also serve as a working kite and will be annually taken down from its display to be flown in nearby St Aubin's bay.

Ivan Morison was more than satisfied after witnessing his co-creation make its maiden lift-off.

Little Shining Man

“When we first took Little Shining Man out onto the beach, you could feel the sculpture come alive,” he said. “It wanted to twist and tumble as we took it across the sands. 

As the wind took hold, it rose slowly, bobbing just above our reach, until a gust caught its sails and lifted way up above us.

Standing there, watching this complex form that had taken us months to plan and build, rise high up into the sky was truly breathtaking.
We felt as Bell must have in his early experiments into flight – a time of true wonder and optimism.”

The debut flight was captured in this beautiful short film, shot at sunset to create a truly beautiful backdrop of light with some great close-ups of Little Shining Man’s geometric structure.

Complementing the superb visuals is an intriguing audio track – the sounds of waves gently lapping and slightly ominous electro music that makes Little Shining Man’s floating upwards seem science-fiction-esque.

Little Shining Man

Suggested by
Ian Skellern