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Story: Mute Meadow

Press release and site content for coverage of Mute Meadow environmental art installation. Image below from mondo arc (magazine with its excerpt pulled from copy below).

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ILUMINARC® Helps Mute Meadow Speak

DERRY ~ LONDONDERRY, Northern Ireland  – Imagine sculptures punctuating a river’s edge, sculptures that whisper and glow as if they were trying to tell you their story. Large plumes of steel shooting upward illuminated by undulating colored light. This light, programmed to give “Mute Meadow” the appearance of a living thing. By night, it’s an organic, ever changing entity with colored lights that mimic sounds. By day, the sculptures take their lighting cues from the sun, shifting shadows cast by rolling overhead clouds.


Scattered along the bank of the River Foyle—80 of them total grouped in pairs with 40 ILUMINARC® Ilumipod Inground 36 IP fixtures nestled between each pair—the sculptures comprise one environmental art installation entitled “Mute Meadow”. The piece, by London-based artists Vong Phaophanit and Claire Oboussier, is the largest public artwork on the island of Ireland. It highlights a new regenerative turn for Derry ~ Londonderry as it transforms itself from a city of conflict to a city of culture, as well as the first U.K. City of Culture in 2013. This means that in 2013 Derry ~ Londonderry will play host to a year-long celebration of culture in the city, opening its doors to visitors from across the world.


To light these pairs of reed-like steel structures, each LED-fitted Ilumipod Inground 36 IP wash light was carefully encased in a custom structure and incorporated into the landscape. The color-changing lights designed to match the stained glass windows of the neighboring Guild Hall. Each of these 12 windows was translated into a color palette of five colors (for a total of 60 colors lighting the entire piece). The specification of the in-ground fixtures as well as the lighting design and programming were performed by Neon Circus of Saffron Walden, Essex.


In fact, Neon Circus wrote software to collate the lights with the random sound bites that make up the “breathing pattern” of the piece. Neon Circus spent weeks on the project staggering the dimming curves to accompany the right audio triggers which mixed the light from each color palette. The goal was to achieve a look that was “unpredictable within reason.”


“Mute Meadow” has been in development for six years. The artists collaborated with Verbal Arts Centre to capture sounds (verbal and musical) from the people of Derry~ Londonderry with the core purpose to represent “the ‘breath’ of the city, beyond narratives, translated into light.”



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