What was Cathedra 900?
‘The Dean and Chapter of Exeter Cathedral are very pleased to welcome this exhibition where the presentation of the arts and craftsmanship of past centuries is presented in the modern media of 3D followed by the subsequent film, sound installation and live concert event. These projects fulfil our Cathedral’s aspiration to be at the meeting place where the sacred and secular and the spirit and senses meet. We are enthused by the artistic interpretation that Mark Ware will bring so easily to the many and diverse visitors to this historic and sacred place.’ – Canon Ian Morter, Exeter Cathedral (2012)
Cathedra 900 was an Arts Council England funded multimedia art project created by artist Mark Ware and presented within Exeter Cathedral throughout 2012 and 2013. The ‘900’ in the project’s title referred to the estimated age of the building. Cathedra 900 was a collection of art events that interpreted and expressed the 900 year timeline of Exeter Cathedral. These events included:
- an exhibition of 3D artwork banners
- creative writing for young people
- creative workshops
- a creative sound installation
- a multimedia live event
- an online international exhibition of invited artists
3D exhibition in Exeter Cathedral’s nave
The first part of Cathedra 900 was a 3D artwork banner exhibition, displayed in Exeter Cathedral’s nave throughout August and September 2012. Mark Ware created twenty eight large scale 3D artwork banners that were hung from the fourteen columns in the cathedral’s nave. Over 40,000 visitors saw the exhibition and were able to experience the 3D effect by wearing blue/red 3D glasses. The design of the banners was strongly influenced by Exeter Cathedral’s unusual symmetrical design. On close inspection, visitors saw that twenty four of the twenty eight banners contained imagery taken from either within or immediately surrounding the cathedral. The remaining four banners showed Roman artefacts, a reference to the Roman community that existed on the site in earlier times.
Literature Works, a charity set up to enable and nurture literature development activity in the South West, collaborated with the Cathedra 900 project by generously funding the involvement of award-winning children’s author, Kathryn White, to run Cathedra 900 creative writing workshops in March 2013 in Exeter Cathedral’s Chapter House.
In addition to the Literature Works supported creative writing workshops, other creative workshops were staged in digital photography supported by Devon Camera Ltd, ceramics supported by the Exeter-based CEDA charity, and performance and voice coaching. The ceramics workshop was led by Richenda Macgregor, and the performance and voice coaching workshops were led by professional actor and performer, Emily Kreider.
From 15th–19th April 2013, Mark Ware exhibited an audio/visual installation in the Exeter Cathedral’s Chapter House. The installation consisted of an 8 channels of sounds, and a selection of 300 images of the cathedral (nine of which are below).
A multimedia live performance, Exeter Cathedral Nave
On 2nd, 3rd and 4th October 2013, Mark Ware presented a multimedia live event in the Cathedral Nave entitled, ‘900 Years of Light’. This event consisted of:
1. Readings of Mark’s creative writing, read by Emily Kreider
2. A lecture/recital given by internationally acclaimed trumpet player Crispian Steele-Perkins on a theme related to the history of musical instruments.
3. The premiere screening of award-winning photographer Michael Bickerton’s short film entitled, ‘Votives Ornamentales’. Camera, lighting and editing: Michael Bickerton. Original music: Zlatko Baracskai.
4. The premiere screening and performance of Mark Ware’s multimedia video composition entitled, ‘900 Hundred Years of Light’. This work included video projection, live music performed by four classical musicians led by Crispian Steele-Perkins, live spoken narrative (Emily Kreider) and light projections throughout the Cathedral (designed by Dominic Jeffery). The video composition featured 900 images of Exeter Cathedral, with each image representing one year in the 900 year timeline of the building.
An online exhibition of four invited artists
Four artists were invited to create artwork for exhibition on the Cathedra 900 website. They were Karin Lowney-Seed (New Jersey USA), Bryan J. Robinson (Devon UK), Chris North (Devon UK) and Steven G. Bonfield (Devon UK).
(clockwise from top left) 1) Karin Lowney-Seed ‘Self Portrait (Summer of 2013)’ acrylic on canvas, 2) Bryan J. Robinson ‘Untitled cathedral piece’ mostly wood and found objects, 3) Chris North ‘Reform’ ink and white acrylic, 4) Steven G. Bonfield ‘Moveable Poem 68: lacquered time carved unknowing’ mixed media, case in paint on board Photos: Mark Ware
Mark Ware: “Cathedra 900 was a celebration and an interpretation of the time line of the Cathedral building and a personal expression of what the Cathedral represents today and moving forward into the future. I was fascinated by this building in terms of how its relative perceived scale and its impact have evolved over centuries, as surrounding activities and town and city structures and sounds have changed. Exeter Cathedral is a wonderfully important structure and it was a privilege for me to be able to present Cathedra 900 within its walls. I’m extremely grateful to Exeter Cathedral and Arts Council England for their support in making this project happen.”