New art project to bring the sounds of the weather to the walls of Derry

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Christopher Steenson.

Almanac for a Walled City is a creative collaboration between artist Christopher Steenson and the Nerve Center, supported by the ESB Brighter Future Arts Fund in partnership with Business to Arts. The project will launch along the historic city walls of Derry in 2023. Steenson’s ambition is to collect the thoughts, predictions and innovative climate solutions of the citizens of Derry and imagine what the city will look like in 400 year.

Taking the form of an interactive sound walk around the Derry Walls, the public will be able to access the recordings via a bespoke geolocation app.

Steenson is kicking off the project with a program of intergenerational workshops with Nerve Center, starting Nov. 17. The workshops will examine the role of forecasting and the place of the almanac in Irish society, with the aim of exploring how the loss of this close relationship with the weather has impacted the current climate crisis. Workshops will invite participants to reflect on their experiences and memories of the weather to help inform the new artwork.

Christopher Steenson

Alongside the workshops, the public also has the opportunity to provide feedback and engage with the project through the Department of Dreamtime, an interactive toll-free hotline that seeks to understand dreams and future-facing concerns. For more information visit www.departmentofdreamtime.org.uk.

Christopher Steenson said: “For generations almanacs have been used for tidal and moon cycles and, in some cases, for making longer-range forecasts of the weather. But we have lost that historic connection to the weather, despite the fact that with all the renewable energy we turn to, whether wind, tidal or solar, the weather will become more important to us than ever.

Jude Mullan, Creative Media Trainer at the Nerve Centre, said: “Listening to the perspectives of cross-generational community groups here in Derry and incorporating them into Christopher’s work was really important to us.

“Feedback we have learned from recent programs indicates that young people’s biggest fear for the future is climate change. We saw the fund and this project as an opportunity to creatively engage with people here, to see what we can do as a community to address the challenges of climate change.

In addition to community workshops, Steenson also meets staff at the nearby ESB CoolKeeragh power station. With most station staff living in and around the Derry area, station manager Jim Cooke said there was great interest in Steenson’s project.

He said: “The weather, of course, is at the heart of the transition to renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar, and for us here at Coolkeeragh listening and understanding the sounds emitted by the station is essential. to the role of an operational engineer.

“The arts sector has a unique ability to mobilize communities around complex issues, such as climate change and the energy transition. We are excited to work with Christopher and the team at Nerve Center and are excited to see where Christopher will bring the project and the final soundscape.

The Nervous Center invites participants to attend the next workshops on November 17 and 27. Visit nervous.org for more information.

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