The first stage of the new illuminated artwork at Chester’s St John’s Church ruins has been switched on.
Hryre – the word for ruin in Old English – is a new artwork designed to explore the medieval heritage of Chester and of St John’s Church in particular. It draws on the research of the Mapping Medieval Chester project, and is part of a new Discover Medieval Chester project funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council.
The artwork has been commissioned by Chester Renaissance and Cheshire West and Chester Council’s Culture and Recreation and Street Lighting team.
Current artwork being projected is temporary and will be replaced by the permanent work in early 2012.
Executive Member for Culture and Recreation, Councillor Stuart Parker, said: “Hryre will be developed using comments and reactions from local people working with the artist. There will be future workshops to develop the content of the artwork, over the next few months.
“After only a few days the reactions have been very positive and I look forward to seeing the completed project early next year.”
To help with the development please either text or email your thoughts to email@example.com or text the word ‘Light’ and your comment to 63333.
The projections across the ruins at St John’s are formed from fragments of medieval texts which describe the city of Chester, in English, Latin and Welsh.
Medieval Chester was a multi-cultural city with a rich multi-lingual culture, and these texts reflect that. As the words are projected across the uneven, fractured stonework, they take on new shapes and abstract visual forms. But some letters and words remain legible, and are designed to open up ideas and themes for reflection.
The illumination is created by combining light and projected text from different positions around the ruins. The artwork gently changes from hour to hour and night to night revealing the different qualities of the ruins and highlighting the texts. Sometimes the work will be a bold illumination and at others a more subtle play of light, shadow and text.
For the next four months multimedia artist Nayan Kulkarni and Dr Catherine Clarke (Swansea University and Director of the Mapping Medieval Chester research) will be developing the permanent content of the artwork.
The light system has been designed by Nayan with electronic engineer Duncan Turner and computer scientist Jamie Craig. They have developed a technology that creates extremely accurate projected light that optimises its use of power in a unique way.