Flight (2003)

Flight, Leuven in Scène, Belgium (2003)
S301213 / Bambuco Archive

At the invitation of festival director Fabian Audooren, Bambuco chose the central Oude Markt square as the site for their work Flight at the Leuven in Scène festival in Belgium. Audooren needed a major public artwork for his festival and Bambuco was able to deliver. The innovative work attracted 50,000 spectators and drew public and critical acclaim.

“The effect of erecting and then almost immediately dismantling the structure is one which makes the familiar appear strange, and the strange structure, which becomes familiar over the duration of the festival, remains in the memory.” Simon Barley

The people of Leuven confirmed this when they said that once the structure had gone the square didn't seem the same as it was before the festival.
                Simon was inspired by a sketch he made of birds in flight. It was made technically possible by the earlier discovery in Singapore of the self-supporting properties of curved bamboo. 

Sketch for Flight (2003)
S1300103 / Bambuco Archive

The project also incorporated the fire pots of Cie Carabosse on the structure. At the end of the construction stage the crew lit the pots with candles. It was the first time Bambuco performed on their own structure in such a way that all elements complemented each other. One of the crew captivated the spectators as he moved gracefully on the 23 metre high structure and lit the pots slowly while pausing often to make eye contact with the audience.
                When the climbers descended there was a different experience for the audience. At night the artwork changed from sculptural theatre to art that engaged the senses by incorporating fire, soundscapes (which used sounds recorded during the building of the bamboo structure) and fragrance emanating from the candles.

Flight, Leuven in Scène, Belgium (2003)
S301181 / Bambuco Archive

"It has taken us nine Bambuco installations to find the best combination of performance and installation. None of the 50,000 spectators who saw the structure ablaze was unaffected." Erik Pootjes