September 28, 2011

Irwell Sculpture Trail

Who would have thought that my idea for a 33 mile long public art project back in 1993 would be re-launched as a major UK attraction in 2011? 
Back then although there was a computer on my desk it only dealt with finance and purchase ordering. I used some project budget to buy a stand-alone PC which could connect to the new fangled internet - the first person in the Authority to be online - and told everyone I met that the internet was going to be a big thing (this wasn't California). Tomorrow the Irwell Sculpture Trail (IST) launches its new website - there's also a facebook page and a twitter feed through which you can follow more immediate developments. It's a big job gathering all the data to put up online but it should all be there in the next 6 or 8 weeks. In this sense, the re-launch is a little bit of a misnomer, as the commissioning of artists has been and is a continuous process. I've lost count of how many artworks I have commissioned over the years, and that's not counting the ones that have been installed in the Rossendale and Salford parts of the Trail - is it 30 or 40? Today, Ron Silliman's neon text art will be installed in the Bury Transport Exchange. On the evening of 14 October, a new lightwork by Daksha Patel will be projected in Bury town centre. Mark Jalland is working on a new work in Openshaw Park, Jack Wright is completing a piece in Brandlesholme. Really, this is a launch of new technology. The website will offer downloadable interpretation, satellite navigation, QR Code trickery and all sorts of other new fangled things. So like the Trail itself, its website will be a continously evolving resource.

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