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CDs create shimmering sea of light

By Matthew Knight, for CNN
  • UK designer creates a shimmering light display from CDs
  • Bruce Munro inspired by the dazzling sea in Sydney, Australia
  • Over 600,000 CDs were donated from all over the world and used in the project

London, England (CNN) -- A field in the heart of the English countryside has been transformed into a sea of shimmering light thanks to one designer and 600,000 unwanted CDs.

"CD Sea" is the latest project by Bruce Munro, an award-winning UK artist renowned for creating spectacular displays with light.

His latest creation, laid out in a ten-acre field beneath the Long Knoll ridge, near Warminster in southern England, was inspired by a trip 51-year-old Munro made to Australia as a young man.

Staring out at the sea in Sydney's Nielsen Park, Munro was struck by the "blanket of shimmering silver light" coming off the water.

It transformed the mood of a then homesick Munro -- who grew up living by the sea -- and the image has stayed with him ever since.

"I remember being particularly mesmerized by one of those dazzling seas and walking away feeling very uplifted," Munro told CNN.

Nearly three decades on, Munro has tried to replicate the play of light and the mood it created in him.

In late 2009, Munro advertised in the press and on his local radio station requesting assistance with his project, calling on people to donate any unwanted CDs to the project.

The response was phenomenal. One man donated 40,000 CDs alone. And packages arrived from as far away as California and Brazil.

"We're still getting them actually," Munro told CNN. "I'm not sure what we'll do with them. But all these installations aren't possible without the help of other people."

Aided by nearly 150 volunteers, Munro laid the "canvas" complete with its "serpentine path" in June.

CD Sea is the first in a series of artworks Munro is creating using recycled materials.

Previous Munro installations, including his "Field of Light," have been installed at the UK's Eden Project in Cornwall and also the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.

Next stop for Munro is Salisbury Cathedral -- home of the tallest spire in the UK -- where, this autumn, he plans to transform the 11th century interior.

"We are doing a shower of 2,000 drops of light between the transept and the nave," Munro said.

He's also planning an exhibition in Philadelphia, United States in 2012.

Munro's CD Sea will be disassembled later this summer. All the CDs will be sent to a local recycling center.