Liquid Gold is the Air

Lead Author:

Rosemary Lee


Roswitha Chesher



Unit of Assessment

33: Music, Drama, Dance, Performing Arts, Film and Screen Studies

Output Category:

Q - Digital or visual media

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Liquid Gold is the Air

Please note – this is a single screen version of one 15 minute loop of Liquid Gold is the Air, it includes title and credits which do not occur on screen in the installation which continually loops with no clear beginning or end.

Summary Statement (300 words)

Liquid Gold is the Air is a three-screen video installation created by Rosemary Lee and filmmaker Roswitha Chesher. The work was created using an interdisciplinary approach with an intergenerational cast of professionals and non-professionals. It was shot in the Cathedral of Trees (Milton Keynes) and tours to cathedrals and chapels where it runs continually on a 15-minute loop.

The research aimed to:

The research investigated the formal and affective potential for an interdisciplinary approach, drawing on three distinct but related disciplines; visual arts practices, screen-dance, participatory practice. Through the exploitation of the combination of landscape and portrait orientation and traditions, Lee extended her investigation of the human figure in relation to their environment, as seen in previous video works – from boy,1 to Without.2 In the simultaneous combining of portraits of individuals with landscape shots of ensembles, she explored ways of enhancing the presence of individual, community and the environment and their interwoven relationships. This work speaks to other artistic practices, from Giotto3 to Bill Viola,4 in its siting and implementation of the form of a triptych altarpiece.


  1. Lee, Rosemary (1995). boy. BBC: Dance for the Camera. [film]
  2. Lee, Rosemary (2013). Without. Derry Londonderry: City of Culture, Echo Echo Dance Theatre Company.
  3. de Bondone, Giotto (1330). Stefaneschi Altarpiece. Rome: St Peters Basilica. [painting]
  4. Viola, Bill (1992). Nantes Triptych. France: Centre National des Arts Plastiques.


Contextual Information

Co-creation of Liquid Gold is the Air:

Liquid Gold is the Air was co-created by choreographer Rosemary Lee and filmmaker Roswitha Chesher. The work was inspired by the live work – Under the Vaulted Sky – conceived, choreographed and directed by Rosemary Lee. The choreography in Liquid Gold is the Air is therefore directed and adapted for camera by Lee alone. All other aspects of the making were collaborative, from co-directing the shooting to all the post-production and editing decisions.

Main Production Credits:
Commission and Funding:

Running continually all day and free to view

Photo Gallery:

Three images of the installation in situ that illustrate the various sites and the scale and design of the three-screen installation.

Supporting documents:

Liquid Gold is the Air programme notes/hand out to viewers at the première, Norwich Cathedral Norfolk and Norwich Festival 2015.

This document illustrates how viewers were prepared by giving them contextual information.

Related publications:

1. Blog post by Ramsay Burt

This blog post by Ramsay Burt reflects on the relationship of the work to its surroundings- Greyfriars Kirk, Edinburgh, reflects on the influence of the Renaissance triptych and gives a sense of his experience of seeing the work in situ.

2. Lee, R. Heighway, A. Starting with Sight: A Conversation between Rosemary Lee and Anna Heighway. The International Journal of Screen Dance Vol 8 2017. Download PDF.

This interview delves into Lee’s visual approach to Liquid Gold is the Air and gives more details about the influences and explorations inherent in the research.

Project website:

Awards and nominations:
Additional Production Credits:
Header Image Credit:

Liquid Gold is the Air. Rosemary Lee and Roswitha Chesher; screenshot: Roswitha Chesher (2015) CC-BY- NC.