Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Things in Public Spaces

Seph, who did all the work
Yesterday was kind of by the way. The real reason I came to Wuhan (with four of my team in tow) was for two big public art projects. 
The first was set in a massive housing development in the north of the city, with Architects of Air's Miracoco luminarium. It’s the ‘thing’ I saw in Edinburgh last summer with Liz and the girls. Fiendishly hard to describe, but let’s go with ‘giant, light-infused, multi-chambered, maze-like adventure-playground tent', beautifully designed & engineered for adults and children. Whatever, it’s dead impressive and has wowed people in 37 cities across the world. Surprisingly this is its China debut.
The opening ceremony, outdoors, was a scream. Big stage, guy-&-girl MCs, speeches, ribbon cutting, fireworks, gold cannons firing confetti and a finale of Abba’s Dancing Queen. And somewhere amongst it all, Robin Robertson read out his short poem, Donegal. I could see him cringing, especially when ‘sad’ music wafted from the PA, but it was saved by an excellent translation which brought a genuinely warm response from the audience. I've got to say it was a real slog pulling this thing off - not that I did much: new boy Seph did all the work. And the two managers from AoA who went through minor hell.  
From there we headed south to a press conference for our Poems in Public Spaces project, which is essentially Poems on the Underground but on the Overground. Great project. Together with the local Writers Association and Propaganda Department, we managed to secure 337 hoardings (many of them huge) on the overground light rail network, on which is a mix of Chinese and British poems. I spoke at a press conference, with one of the poets, Robin Robertson, and the really good Wuhan team who worked so hard to make it happen.  
I'm always proud of my team and the work we've been doing, but today it really hit home. They're fantastic. 

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