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New ‘night sun’ will appear in skies over North Kent in October

Date uploaded: September 19, 2011

New ‘night sun’ will appear in skies over North Kent in October

Artlands Milton Creek Commission

October 1st-27th 2011

Heather and Ivan Morison – Sleepers Awake

Opening/Launch Saturday 8th of October 2011*, 7:30–9pm 

Milton Creek, Sittingbourne, Kent, UK.

A spectacular ‘night sun’ will appear in the skies directly above North Kent in October.

This vast celestial body, emitting an unworldly light, will be clearly visible from as far as 21 miles away. The civil aviation authority has been notified about the launch.

As dusk falls on Saturday October 1st the giant art work will appear low in the sky above the estuary at the mouth of Milton Creek, Sittingbourne, UK. Each successive evening it will rise still higher in the sky and as dawn breaks it will sink slowly beneath the skyline. Throughout the month it will travel progressively closer to Sittingbourne. (NB: Opening event is on the 8th of October)

‘Sleepers Awake’ is a major new commission by internationally renowned artists Heather and Ivan Morison who create work that features semi-fictional narratives blending fact with illusion, histories and possible futures. The sculptures they create, often placed in the public realm, act as catalysts for urgent discussions about distant events that might happen, their work acknowledges the presence of threat. Ivan and Heather Morison who represented Wales at the 52nd Venice Biennale of Art ask “What goes on here through the nights of this comet’s visit? People return, ideas are germinated, new nocturnal alliances are formed, a place is transformed. The sleepers of Sittingbourne awake to their future.”

The work will be seen by hundreds of thousands of people as it will be visible in the wide-open skies of the region throughout selected days in October. The giant helium filled sphere will float higher than a London skyscraper above North Kent reaching a height of approximately four hundred feet. (London skyscraper Centre Point is 385 ft)

The structure will be tethered by a steel cable to a platform floating on Milton Creek which in turn will be towed by a barge, allowing the ‘night sun’ to move. The interior will house a bespoke high powered lighting rig. The landscape will be transformed. The brightness of the lights will be powerful enough to create a vivid ball of light in the sky redefining the hues and contours of the post-industrial landscape beneath. It is predicted that the strangeness of the spectacle will attract huge numbers of night-time visitors to Milton Creek as a growing number of people become aware of the artwork.

‘Sleepers Awake’ is being fabricated by Bristol based Cameron Balloons who are world specialists in hot-air balloon construction and have been involved in many important world record projects. 

The artwork will be guarded by local residents.

‘Sleepers Awake’ is a major new public realm commission for North Kent and has been realised within the context of Milton Creek Country Park-a major regeneration project. The commission will re-unite the community of Sittingbourne with a forgotten area of the town and acts as a beacon–heralding the future of an area which will continue to embrace change and evolution. 

“As dusk falls a new star appears low in the sky, far off in the estuary at the mouth of Milton Creek. It shines bright in the night sky, a strange visitor emitting an unworldly light, sinking slowly below the skyline as dawn breaks. Each successive evening it rises still higher in the sky and each day its moves closer along the Creek. For miles around it is visible in the wide-open skies of north Kent; a beacon for what lies beneath. Each night the residents of Sittingbourne look out to see its progress and slowly they are drawn from their homes, down to the Creek where the landscape has been transformed by this night sun, its cool green glow redefining the hues and contours of this strangely evocative stretch of post-industrial landscape. The stillness and quietness of the night heightens the visitors senses – inviting them to look again at their surroundings – the muddy undulating creek, its greened over tips and their homes and town in the distance. People return night after night, ideas are germinated, a place transformed.”

* The ‘night sun’ arrives at its first location far out into the Swale on the 1st of October. The official opening on Saturday the 8th of October is timed for audiences to visit the sun as it moves closer towards Sittingbourne.

For the article in the Telegraph, click here.

Visit www.artlandsnorthkent.org.uk/

Heather and Ivan Morison ‘Sleepers Awake’ Photo: Benedict Johnson

Heather and Ivan Morison ‘Sleepers Awake’ Photo: Benedict Johnson