BE IGNITED! The Solar System recreated as a sculpture trail along Derry’s River Foyle

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Designed by award-winning author and artist Oliver Jeffers, in collaboration with astrophysicist Professor Stephen Smartt, the 10km 3D sculpture trail kicks off this Friday at Bay Road Park in the city and marks the start of a calendar dazzling one month. free events.

The Our Place in Space trail winds its way along the banks of the River Foyle, where each of the planets in our solar system has been recreated as a contemporary art sculpture designed by Oliver Jeffers.

An arch houses each planet with its name and an arrow as a giant luminous sign above it.

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Author and artist Oliver Jeffers at Planet Earth ahead of the launch of ‘Our Place in Space’ this Friday [April 22). Photo: Lorcan Doherty

The location of the planets will give a sense of distance and whole new perspective on the surrounding landscape, the world around us and the stars above. An interactive App will be available to enhance the experience of the trail and explore the planets further.

As part of the opening weekend, to mark Earth Day (April 22), space scientist and UNBOXED Board member, Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock, will host ‘A conversation with Oliver Jeffers and Prof Stephen Smartt’, the minds behind Our Place in Space.

On Saturday, hundreds of space cadets from across Northern Ireland will attempt to smash the current Guinness World Record of 257 for the most people dressed as astronauts.

There will be cosmic storytelling and encounters with aliens, astronauts and other space creatures with circus troupe In Your Space and the chance to Cycle the Solar System with Monica Downey from Cycling Made Easy and Sustrans. All events are free.

Astrophysicist Professor Stephen Smartt joins author and artist Oliver Jeffers as he puts the finishing touches on planet Earth ahead of the launch of ‘Our Place in Space’ this Friday [April 22]. Photo: Lorcan Doherty.

Over the following weeks, Jazz at Jupiter, Sunrise Yoga, Stargazing with the Irish Astronomical Association and Bat Walk and Talk are just some of the other free events taking place on various dates in April and May, culminating in a final . take-off mini festival weekend with music, pop-up performances, a planet picnic and a solar cinema.

Oliver Jeffers said: “It seems rather fitting that we are launching this project on Earth Day. We hope to encourage people to think about humanity’s place in the universe, what it means to exist on Earth, the only place known to support life, and how to sustain such life for many generations to come. With distance comes perspective – and what happens to our perspective when we look at our planet from space? Our place in space intends to find out.

Executive Producer David Lewis, of The Nerve Center, added: “This project has taken nearly two years in the making and we are so excited and ready to launch in Derry-Londonderry. It’s unlike anything people have seen before – the trail takes Oliver’s signature illustrative style and combines it with Stephen’s encyclopedic knowledge of space. It is a remarkable work that transcends art, science, technology and mathematics.

‘There is a full program of activities planned throughout the period that the sculpture trail will live on the Foyle – lots of things people may not have tried before. It is an exciting and very different program with something for everyone.

Martin Green CBE, UNBOXED Creative Director, added: “Our place in space is a wonderful way to explore our solar system right here on Earth, with Oliver’s beautiful sculptures of the planets adding a new dimension to the landscape. in which they are placed. Like other UNBOXED projects, it is a fabulous collision between art, science and technology and asks questions about who we are and our relationship with each other. However you navigate this great space adventure, on foot or on wheels, with or without the app, this free event is suitable for people of all ages and not to be missed.

Led by the Nerve Centre, Our Place in Space is the flagship event of UNBOXED: Creativity in the UK in Northern Ireland and one of ten major projects taking place across the UK in 2022 – including five in NI . Our Place in Space runs from April 22-October 16 at three locations in Northern Ireland: Derry (April 22-May 22), Divis and Black Mountain (July 30-August 28) and the North Down Coastal Route (September 17- October 16). ). For more information, see ourplaceinspace.earth.

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