Two ‘epic-scale’ events confirmed for Derry in 2022

Two ‘epic scale’ free events are to take place in Derry next year, one of which will involve an installation mapping out our solar system along the west bank of the River Foyle.

Thursday, 21st October 2021, 12:48 pm

The huge projects are among 10 cutting edge creative initiatives confirmed for Britain and the north of Ireland in 2022.

Dates have yet to be finalised for each project but all 10 will run between March 1 and October 1.

The 10km long ‘Our Place in Space’, a scale version of the solar system, is designed by artist and children’s author Oliver Jeffers and produced by the Nerve Centre Collective in Derry.

Our Place in Space is being produced by Derry's Nerve Centre Collective.

It will take the form of an outdoor sculptural trail along the Foyle from Bay Road to Out The Line in Derry, and will also be staged in Down, Antrim and Cambridge in England. The project also involves an interactive augmented reality app, and learning and events programmes.

At a media-briefing on Wednesday, journalists were told Our Place in Space will invite participants to look at the solar system in a different way, exploring what it means to live on Earth in 2022, and “how we might better share and protect our planet in future”.

Artist Oliver Jeffers said: “What is the difference between ‘us’ and ‘them’? What happens to your perspective on everything when you look back at Earth from space?”

The project is supported from leading astrophysicist Professor Stephen Smartt, and features music by award-winning composer, producer and sound artist Die Hexen.

A visualisation of About Us.

Stephen said the sculpture trail will get people outside to contemplate the scale of the solar system.

Derry has also been confirmed as one of five locations along with Hull, Luton, Caernarfon and Paisley for a commission, ‘About Us’ that will immerse audiences in 13.8 billion years of history from the Big Bang to the present day using innovative 3D projection mapping technology combined with poetry, music and science.

The large-scale public event that tells the story of the infinite ways in which we are connected to the universe, natural world, and one another from the Big Bang to the present day.

About Us combines live shows and multimedia installations with animation, poetry, original music and live performance. It will transform local buildings and landmarks in Derry into a vast canvas featuring bespoke animations, cutting-edge projection mapping technology and a new score by composer Nitin Sawhney performed by local choirs.

A visualisation of About Us.

The outdoor installation will incorporate submissions from a poetry and computer coding competition for children and young people launched this week.

It will run for a week in each location, with bespoke multimedia installations open throughout the day and multiple free performances every evening.

Lysander Ashton, Project Director, About Us said: “We are stardust: every atom in our bodies can be traced back to deep space and time; our family tree connects us to every living thing on earth and our lives are defined by our relationships with others. About Us will shine a light on the magic and awe revealed in the most everyday object or moment in towns and cities.”

The two projects are among five of ten ‘UNBOXED: Creativity in the UK’ Commissions which will incorporate sites across Northern Ireland.

A visualisation of About Us.

Tracy Meharg, Permanent Secretary in the Department for Communities Northern Ireland said: “This a chance to experience cutting edge technology in an accessible and inclusive project developed right here on our doorstep. Our Place in Space celebrates local talent and creativity on a grand scale.”

Events and activities will take place from March 1 to October 1, from the Outer Hebrides to Dover and from Derry to Swansea, and across traditional and online media.

Meanwhile another project Stoyrtrails will involve augmented reality, new developments in 3D internet technology and young creatives to shape one of the most ambitious living history and archive projects ever undertaken in 15 towns and cities , including Omagh in the north.

A number of projects already have opportunities to get involved or develop professional skills and creative practice, including About Us. For links, please visit the UNBOXED website – www.unboxed2022.uk.