Brighter Later


Brighter Later, was a temporary light installation commissioned for the Radcliffe Observatory at Green Templeton College as part of Tracing Venus, the University of Oxford’s Public Art Programme for the Radcliffe Observatory Quarter.
Inspired by the Radcliffe Observatory’s prominent role in the history of astronomy and meteorological recording Brighter Later transformed the observing tower of the Grade II-listed building into a lantern visible across Oxford, as part of the celebrations for the Oxford Christmas Light Festival in November 2013.

Image © Modus Operandi

Collins took her cue from the origins of the Observatory and its architecture, which is based on the Tower of the Winds in Athens. For two weeks the interior of the tower was lit up from dusk until midnight each night, responding in real time to nature, the wind and the elements. Driven by data from a bespoke weather-measuring system located in the gardens of Green Templeton College, each light responded dynamically to meteorological variables. Changes in temperature, pressure, rainfall and wind drove the colour and brightness fluctuations of the lights, linking it very specifically with the north Oxford location.

The title of the light installation was taken from the Nick Drake track and album ‘Bryter Layter’ which is an oblique reference to weather forecasting, as well as the Light Festival.

Image © Fisher Studios

Image © Fisher Studios

Image © Fisher Studios

The lighting display commenced on 22 November 2013 in concert with Oxford’s Christmas Light Festival 2013 and remained in place until 1 December. It could be viewed externally from across the city between dusk and midnight.
Image © Fisher Studios

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Radcliffe Observatory, Green Templeton College, Woodstock Road, Oxford OX2 6GG
Produced by Modus Operandi

With thanks to
Simon Emberton and Matt Jarvis for the programming
Stage Electrics for the lighting