Designed by the award-winning author and artist Oliver Jeffers in collaboration with astrophysicist Professor Stephen Smartt, the 10km, 3D sculpture trail blasts off at Bay Road Park in the city this Friday and marks the beginning of a meteoric, month-long, schedule of free events.
The Our Place in Space trail weaves its way along the banks of the River Foyle, where each of our solar system's planets 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 illuminated sign above it. 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 on 22 April, space scientist and UNBOXED Board member Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock will feature in a discussion 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.
"This project has been nearly two years in the making and we are so excited and ready to launch in Derry-Londonderry. It’s not like anything people will have seen before – the trail takes Oliver’s signature illustrative style and combines it with Stephen’s encyclopaedic knowledge of space. It’s a remarkable piece of work which transcends across art, science, technology, and maths.
“There is a full programme of activities planned throughout the period that the sculpture trail will live on the Foyle – many things people may never have tried before. It’s an exciting and very different programme with something for everyone. - Executive producer, David Lewis of Nerve Centre.
Over the following weeks, Jazz at Jupiter, Sunrise Yoga, Stargazing with the Irish Astronomical Association, and a Bat Walk and Talk are just some of the other free events lined up to take place on various dates throughout April and May, culminating in a final weekend mini lift-off festival with music, pop-up performances, a picnic at the planets and a solar cinema.