Artist plans solar "field of light" in Australia's Red Center


July 3, 2012

Bruce Munro's vision to transform the Australian desert landscape around Uluru

Bruce Munro's vision to transform the Australian desert landscape around Uluru

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Installation artist Bruce Munro has come up with an ambitious plan to transform the Australian desert landscape around Uluru (Ayres Rock) into a field of glowing solar flowers. If fulfilled, Munro’s long-held dream would see the installation of over 250,000 solar powered light stems over a one square kilometer (0.4 square mile) area.

“My aim is to make an event shared in every aspect with as many people in Australia as possible,” says Munro. “I endeavor to make my dreams come true and love the idea of sharing and realizing this dream with as many people as possible.”

Munro first came up with the notion of creating an Australian desert field of light back in 1992 when traveling through the Red Center. According to Munro the sacred Aboriginal landscape “seemed to radiate both energy and ideas along with the heat.” Since this original burst of inspiration Munro premiered his first LED light installation at Harvey Nichols, London in 2003/04. His first large-scale project later took place in the ten acre (48,400 square yard) Long Knoll Field in 2004/05, followed by the dazzling field of light at the Eden Project, Cornwall 2008/09.

“I have wanted to bring the Field of Light back to Uluru where it was conceived, ever since it first popped into my head,” says Munro. “The scale would be unprecedented. A quarter of a million stems in a circular format covering an area equivalent to one square kilometer adjacent to Ayers Rock .”

To complete the immense project, Munro would use 3290 kilometers (2045 miles) of fiber, 165 kilometers (103 miles) of recycled acrylic tubing, 250,000 glass spheres and steel ground stakes, plus 500 custom made solar powered illuminators. These illuminators would ensure that the flower-like lights are 100 percent self-sustaining, leaving a minimal carbon footprint as possible.

It will take 1000 man days to construct the solar lights and a further 1850 man days for a team of 41 men to install and dismantle the installation. If Munro is successful in fulfilling this dream, there is no doubt that the outcome will be spectacular installation and a light show not to be missed.

“The Field of Light, like the dormant seed in a dry desert, quietly waits until darkness falls and then under a blazing blanket of southern stars it blooms with gentle rhythms of light,” says Munro.

Munro hopes to install the Field of Light at Uluru from April-October 2013 and is currently seeking fundraising contributions online to help realize the project.

While the result would no doubt be visually stunning, the question is whether or not it would enhance or detract from this already spectacularly beautiful landscape which, as Munro is careful to point out, is also a sacred place for the Anangu people. Inspiration or artistic vandalism? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.

Source: Bruce Munro via Archdaily

About the Author
Bridget Borgobello Bridget is an experienced freelance writer, presenter and performer with a keen eye for innovative design and a passion for green technology. Australian born, Bridget currently resides in Rome and when not scribbling for Gizmag, she spends her time developing new web series content and independent cinema. All articles by Bridget Borgobello

Not unlike looking at a city from a distance at night.


I think it's up to the Aboriginal people to decide if it's a good thing to do. What do they think? I think it will look about the same no matter where you put it.

The Hoff

Classic, didn't do well in school so he became an artist? SQR of 250000 is 500, And area 1000 by 1000 meters means the lights are on average 2 meters apart.

The images shown here suggest a much higher density. Taking a stab at it, more like 0.5 meter on average. That would need 40 million of those lights.

Never mind. That is only 16 times more. With 250000 lights this initiative will look decidedly pathetic. Maybe he should stick to an area 100 x 100 meters. Or even better, head back to primary school.

Paul van Dinther

Awful idea. We need LESS light pollution, not more!


I was doing Paul's back-of-the-envelope as I was reading and had to add in the rubbish content. With 41 men working 7 days/week it would take ~45 days to install/dismantle this rubbish. Because of the sun you would have to work in the evenings so that will add to the amount of time.

The actual working lifespan of the flowers is likely to be closer to just a few days. Has he has tested his prototypes in the extreme heat/cold, wind, dust and other factors of Uluru. These bloody flowers would need to be made of NASA quality materials just to survive the environment long enough to light up.

Another factor is the number of water bottles, snack bags, granola bar wrappers and other rubbish that will be left behind with the flowers they can't find when trying to clean up.

Essentially the artist is asking for permission to turn Uluru into his personal rubbish tip.


Pollution is never art, and to suggest that such a project would be "leaving a minimal carbon footprint" is dangerously naive - people aren't going to swim to Australia and walk to Uluru to see this. The photoshop rendering of the idea looks cool enough, and won't tax the environment on such a massive scale.


What a waste of time, money, energy and resources...and the carbon footprint will be huge...why do we generate toy rubbish like this when all the resources are running out???? There is a name for it but can't remember what it's called...Anyway the Dingo's 'll love it something to wee against in the dark...too much time on somebodies hands me thinks :-)


The amount of commerce flow may provide a benefit to the region with lasting effects if done wisely. A similar example is the EMP project in Seattle and it continues to receive investment as a place to visit.

Gary Richardson

Also, whoever owns the project is responsible for the upkeep, security, and maintenance.

Gary Richardson

Why doesn't he use those self-charging garden lights that all the DIY stores sell? It would be a good way to get rid of them as well, and I'm sure a company would be willing to sponsor him. WHat happens to the fibre optic wires and recycles acrylic after this project has bored the world?

@ ZipZapRap couldn't agree more...


As i see it there's already a fantastic light show there – the stars in the night sky. I think it's a fantastic idea for somewhere else and it would work well in many places that aren't already lovely. Why spoil one of the most naturally spiritual places? Just because you can do it doesn't mean you should. Artistic vision is important but sometimes it can't see outside it's own world.


I forgot to mention the troops of people in addition to the 41 workers who will be stomping around in the delicate desert environment collecting flower souvenirs for ebay and leaving more rubbish. Why not just bulldoze a moat around the rock and have some dancing flamingoes.

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