Friday, January 4, 2008

Welcome to Breath of Life Arts Project

Obelisk (Courtesy of Hunter Photobank)

Welcome to Breath of Life - Back to the City Arts Project. Back to the City is a series of temporary urban art interventions taking place in the City of Newcastle during January and February 2008 under the Artistic Directorship of Professor Steffen Lehmann. Seventeen collaborative teams of artists, architects and landscape architects will produce a series of site-specific installations in the city centre. The aim of the project is to investigate contemporary and relevant crossovers between the disciplines, as well as testing and experimenting with new forms of collaboration, bringing into focus the revitalisation process of Newcastle’s city centre.

The ‘Breath of Life’ proposal was to construct and install a series of mini windmills around the Obelisk at the top of town, and in the process promote new directions towards clean renewable energy on the historic site of Newcastle’s windmill which was completed in 1821, and demolished in 1850.

Correlations of the obelisk as symbol of traditional solar worship are also plentiful. The obelisk to the ancient Egyptians symbolised the sun god Ra. It was also believed that the god actually existed within the obelisk, and was worshipped as the dwelling place of the sun-god. During the religious upheaval of Pharoah Akhenaten’s reign the obelisk was said to be a petrified ray of the solar disc aten. (Ref: Illustrated Dictionary of Symbols in Eastern and Western Art by James Hall, published by HarperCollins, 1994: p. 75). As a symbolised embodiment of the ray of the sun, it is therefore a fitting reminder to reinvigorate this site with mythical sun and wind energy.

The team was one of 10 successful applications, with a further 7 being invited to prepare installations across the city. There was a feature in the Sun Herald 18/11/07 (“Steel City Prepares to Show Off Its Creative Side” Hunter Extra pp.4-5)

For more information please see the Back to the City website and Breath of Life Proposal (2MB PDF).

1 comment:

Hunter Regional Committee of the National Trust said...

Today we meet with Gerry and NCC staff member to clarify windmill design.
Outcome of todays meeting -
-Need to do test drill in earth.
-Order metal and wood
-Risk assessment (draft) has been emailed to Gerry.
-Possible issues with drilling holes, this is currently being discussed with fencer.
-Does anyone own a saftey vest, could they bring it with them to site next week.
-Ann to collect witches hats and bunting on Wed 5pm from shopfront at Hunter Street.

Important Dates
1. Windmill construction session this Friday at Varelle's place at 1.30pm.
2. Bump in Monday 9am, need to measure out distance between windmills, may be able to do this Sunday? Mark earth with spraypaint.