John Bullock Lighting Design
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Time; Please!


I was sitting in Dorchester�s most popular coffee-house-to-be-seen-in, talking with a local glass artist about all things glass and lighting, when I heard these words come from my mouth: �Of course, it�s all about the vital role that the fourth dimension plays in lighting design.�

What? Where did that come from? That�s not my style, even if I have just had two cups of coffee. Presuming that an alien art force had taken charge of my speech centres, I made my way home, careful not to speak to anyone lest I express an opinion on the faux-traditional architecture of Poundbury and its malign effects on the West Dorset psyche. The last few hours have made little sense to me, but I offer this to you verbatim, in the way of a message from across the stars � a trans-dimensional design critique, if you will.

The fundamental problem with human design thinking is the way that you limit yourselves to the forms that can be seen and touched � those simple planar dimensions of width and depth, and in doing so, you miss entirely the one dimension that really matters � that of Time. It is probably why human designers and architects have their projects photographed and promoted so quickly after construction, before Time has a chance to inhabit the design, as it inevitably must - for this is a many-dimensioned universe.

We note with some amazement that there are still human designers who have developed their entire careers in just two dimensions, using only length and width to suggest the depth of their creative genius, very rarely lurching into the realms of the third dimension of an actual building; that is quite a conjuring trick, humankind. But all of you fall victim to the fallacy of �having no time�. What is it that you say: �Would you mind looking at this?� �Sorry, I don�t have the Time.� I would suggest to you that if Time were an active component in your design process you might end up doing lots of things differently.

For one thing, there would be far fewer mind-numbing lighting installations. We have noticed that many lighting designs featured in your magazines are described as being �dynamic� and �exciting�, which usually involve a colour-changing methodology. In your oriental cultures, the word �change� implies Time as an eternal element of being; though we have noticed how many humans seem to dislike the concept of �change�, believing it to be something to be avoided at all costs. But colour-change lighting includes the fourth dimension as an active design component, even though we believe that many of your designers have not fully grasped the implications of this. We are not sure whether humans simply �ride their luck�, as the popular idiom has it, and get away with things that other cultures in the universe would start wars over, or whether the effects of the idiot-savant gene has a stronger hold in humans than we had previously believed.

There are those of you who say: �Time is an illusion�. Clearly, these people haven�t yet stood in front of one of these colour-change schemes for any length of Time, seeing it do nothing other than act as visual wallpaper while their human synapses break down until they find it difficult to maintain a decent conversation with a brassica � who are by no means the dullest species on your planet. But this is not a place to talk human politics.

If we can do nothing more for you at this moment in your evolutionary journey, let us make this single observation, in the hope that you may benefit from the meditation upon it. Humanity�s great creative artists understand the fourth dimension. Time is poured into their art, inviting the viewer to �spend time� with their creations, exploring the nuances and appreciating the subtleties of the work. Most colour-changing schemes are as subtle as a chimpanzee dressed as Ricky Gervais telling a joke. It doesn�t work on any level.

Thank you for your Time.

RIBA CPD in 2015

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