From initial brief to larger than life
Neil, Dylan & myself spent several evenings huddled around a computer building 3D models of different concepts that were natural shapes & forms. We kept coming back to Newgrange & Stonehenge since it was druidic & pagan, and wanted something that could be monumental & beautiful, geometric & natural, and that could be built from materials that could be sourced from previous use or able to be recycled after we had finished the installation.
The other parameters that Culture Night asked us to consider were that it appealed to all ages, could be interacted with in day & night, would be covid safe, and ideally be visually intriguing.
What we came up with was 2 sections: The Tree Alphabet & The Ogham Wheel, which together formed the Ogham Grove. The Tree Alphabet was to be the primer for learning about the individual letters, so we would have info boards to read during the day, and then at night the individual letters would light up along the length of the alphabet structure.
Depending on where you stood you would just see abstract patterns of light or would see the letters be spelt out. And the Ogham Wheel was to invite you to sit and contemplate the space, the shamanic music and the spectacle.
We wanted to produce something that people would want to spend time at, could be free-flowing in where they walked, would be a different initial experience depending on which route you arrived at Writers Square, and was open to all.
We asked Tomas to help us achieve the vision for the lighting, bringing the structures to life at night, and Damien to help with the production of drum loops for the album, as well as in bringing his drum circle to the installation to play live shamanic drumming each evening, which brought the spirituality of the event to a whole new level.
Once people had taken the time to learn about the Tree Alphabet, and contemplated the space whilst sitting at the Ogham Wheel the hope was that people would take the time to wander around the Cathedral Quarter to hunt down the plaques and experience the digital trail component of the experience.
Over the Ogham Grove weekend there were over 10000 people came to experience the installation, tell stories and share experiences, and over 3000 went on to take part in the digital trail, exploring all of the public art & venues that we're fortunate to have in this area of our city.
It was a privilege to be given the opportunity to produce this monumental artwork, and we'll all be feeling the power of the Ogham for many years to come.
You can watch the Ogham Grove video here.