LightingUpTime : Darwin bicentenary public art commission

In October 2008 digital artist Andy McKeown (www.junctionbox98.net) and I were awarded a grant from the Arts Council West Midlands and Shrewsbury & Atcham Borough Council to produce public art and develop community arts involvement in Shrewsbury throughout 2009 – to celebrate the town’s most famous son, Charles Darwin, and the legacy of his ideas. Our proposal, LightingUpTime, was to make small-scale and very large work, for brief periods, using light and light projection all over the town, working with local schoolchildren, young parents, art students and undergraduates.Events will be recorded in a website (www.LightingUpTime.net – under construction) and on the local Council’s website (http://www.discoverdarwin.co.uk/festival-events).

We kicked off 2009 at midnight on New Year’s Eve 2008 with a large scale projection of the entire text of Origin of Species (softly falling in many colours and layers; 45 min loop) onto the side wall of the 1960’s Market Hall (from upstairs in MossBros opposite).

In preparation for LightingUpTime, in December 2008 we projected photographs of details of C19th Shrewsbury architectural features associated with Darwin in a klaidescoped animation (created by Andy McKeown) onto the floor of the town’s St Chad’s church (www.stchadschurchshrewsbury.com) during a performance by the internationally famous Ex-Cathedra choir (www.ex-cathedra.org) see video below; we projected a moving ‘newsfeed’ of text describing Darwin’s voyage on The Beagle, created by a Year 9 pupil at a local school, across the front of the Unitarian Church where the boy Darwin worshipped; and, using three projectors housed in small tents in the gardens, experimented with a massive projection across the whole facade of Shrewsbury Public Library – where Darwin went to school.

I am currently editing a video interview with Elaine Morgan – author of the contested ‘Descent of Woman’ (www.elainemorgan.me.uk/), about her Kuhnian struggle to bring new ideas into the scientific establishment , which in many ways mirrors Darwin’s own – and describing key concepts in the theory of evolution. I am collaborating with Elaine Morgan to host a public seminar ‘What Makes Us Human ?‘ in February, a month which also sees a large number of well-funded public events in Shrewsbury featuring British and American Creationist scientists, which position evolution as a ‘contested and outdated theory’. At that event we may show work based on the text of her latest book ‘The Naked Darwinist’.

During the year, our interactive installation ‘Dear Maurice’, which plays with ideas about DNA and utopian society and won the Whittingham Riddell Open Regional Prize in 2006 (www.mediamaker.tv/mm_docs/ArPr_jul06.php), will show in a gallery in the local Museum. During 2009, I hope to make work around the idea of ‘analogy’ and ’empathy’ – drawing on research I’ve recently done  for my MA in Fine Art at BIAD (BIAD.bcu.ac.uk) and Darwin’s idea that collaboration played a key role in the development of human beings.

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2 Responses to “LightingUpTime : Darwin bicentenary public art commission”

  1. fluolingeHone Says:

    Awesome, I did not know about this topic till now. Thanx!

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