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AAJ Press
Art & Public Space, Art Projects, Commissions & Projects, Installation, Light, Metal, Sculpture, Sound

Vong Phaophanit and Claire Oboussier: Mute Meadow. Derry~Londonderry, Ireland

Designed by London based artists Vong Phaophanit and Claire Oboussier, Mute Meadow, located on the banks of the River Foyle marks the regeneration of Derry~Londonderry before it’s debut as the inaugural UK City of Culture in 2013.  The work was opened on Saturday 25th June 2011 on The Peace Bridge.

Stretching out across the waterfront, the sculpture is made up of 40 pairs of angled steel columns ranging in height from 6 metres to 10 metres, and lit at the base to resemble a shimmering ‘forest of light’.

A specially designed lighting programme will convert sound data collected from the residents of the city into gently animated projections of coloured light, giving local people an opportunity to contribute directly to the project. 40 LED projectors will be used to illuminate the columns. The chosen colours are based on the stain glass windows of the nearby Guildhall.

The city’s residents are invited to upload their ‘sounds of the city’ through http://www.onedayiplantedaseed.com, a community engagement programme, facilitated by the Verbal Arts Centre. The sounds will then be converted into light waves and used to create a silent lighting programme to illuminate the artwork. Recordings, including poetry recitals, traffic noise, music and conversations, will be collected on an ongoing basis, to be transformed into light waves. These will create the distinctive patterns of coloured light which will be used to illuminate the light installation.

The work begins at the old army parade ground, running down to the River Foyle and will be accessible via the new Peace Bridge across the River Foyle linking the city centre with Ebrington, a former British military site. As Derry~Londonderry unites to shed its image as a divided city, Mute Meadow is intended as a symbol of its transformation from a city of conflict to a city of culture. Following six years of planning it will be the largest public artwork in Ireland, created with a budget of £800,000

Mute Meadow is funded by the North West Cultural Challenge Fund. Delivery partners include Ilex, the Department of Culture Arts and Leisure, the Department of Social Development, Arts Council of Northern Ireland and Derry City Council. The public engagement programme, onedayiplantedaseed.com is managed by the Verbal Arts Centre. The architects on the project are ARD Ciaran Mackel Architects.  The construction work is being carried out by SIAC.

Photographs: Brian Morrison

http://www.atopia.org.uk – website for Vong Phaophanit and Claire Oboussier

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About jeh

Jeremy Hunt is Director of the AAJ Press (Art & Architecture Journal / Press) – a writer and consultant on art and public space

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