Ebrington tripping the light fantastic

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The illumination of Mute Meadow - now Ireland’s largest artwork - was one of the highlights of the Peace Bridge celebrations in Derry last night.

The £800,000 structure made up of 40 pairs of angled steel columns was lit up to resemble what the artists call a shimmering forest of light at Ebrington.

The Mute Meadow site will not be completely landscaped and open to the public until later in the summer.

But the organisers of yesterday’s celebrations felt in was important to bring the lighting up ceremony forward to coincide with the opening of the Peace Bridge in the city yesterday.

“This has been a hugely ambitious project and after years of planning it’s fantastic to see Ireland’s largest artwork finally beginning to take shape,” said Roisin McDonagh, Arts Council chief executive. “It is a city’s culture, heritage and architecture which make it unique. Mute Meadow is a landmark art project which will help reinforce Derry-Londonderry’s image as a thriving cultural destination.”

The sculpture is the work of London-based artists Vong Phaophanit and Claire Oboussier and the aim was to mark Derry’s transformation for a city of conflict to a city of culture.

A specially designed lighting programme has been incorporated into the structure. It uses 40 LED projectors with the colours based on the stained glass windows of the Guildhall.

Sound data collected by the community is converted into animated projections of coloured lights which illuminate the columns at night.

“Over recent months we’ve been asking people to upload their sounds of the city and today for the first time the artwork was illuminated using the light patterns they generated,” said Phaophanit.

Oboussier added: “As Mute Meadow reached the final stages of construction it is genuinely exciting to see how art in public space can have the power to transform the visual landscape of a city such as Derry and play a role in re-imaginging the place.”