What is the new Apertura attraction at Hadrian’s Wall Festival and why is it delayed?

A spectacular new art installation that is part of the 1900 Hadrian’s Wall festival has been delayed, but organizers promise the big unveiling, when it comes, will be worth it.

Apertura – a mass of copper wind chimes that will create a haunting soundscape in the breeze – should have already been in place in Northumberland National Park. But the work has been postponed and will now only be completed on September 10.

Hadrian’s Wall Festival celebrations in 1900 include this much-anticipated new temporary ‘sound sculpture’ set to take shape in Walltown Country Park near Greenhead, made up of 1,900 suspended brass chimes that will make a music-changing mix constantly in accordance with the conditions.

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Work on his installation was due to be completed by Friday August 26 for the public to view until September 11. Instead, it is slated to premiere between September 10 and October 2. The team behind HW1900, the long festival celebrating the 1900 anniversary of the famous Roman wall: a Unesco World Heritage, said the decision to postpone the opening was made due to “unforeseen supply issues”.

Apertura will consist of 1,900 copper chimes, one for each year in Hadrian’s Wall history

While he did not explain the exact nature of the supply issues, a spokeswoman said: “The quality of Apertura and the proper celebration of the World Heritage Site is of the utmost importance to all people. involved and with that in mind the dates have been moved to a little later in the year.” She added, “This extra time will ensure an exciting and immersive sound installation that will be worth the wait!”

The art sculpture is the work of Ed Carter – the Gateshead artist and musician who was behind the floating artwork Flow on the Tyne where it made beautiful music in 2012 – plus Nicky Kirk and Tony Broomhead and she draws inspiration from both the heritage site and the landscape of the national park.

Kennel Crags on Hadrian's Wall, Northumberland, by Roger Clegg
Kennel Crags on Hadrian’s Wall, Northumberland, by Roger Clegg

As the name suggests, Apertura will frame its section of Hadrian’s Wall and provide a new vantage point. And after its months of development, the installation is expected to draw hordes of visitors who can expect to experience an ever-changing, interactive spectacle of shimmering light and sound. The park site is also wheelchair accessible.

Funded by the North of Tyne Combined Authority, the installation will be free to see and hope to bring people from everywhere to talk together and create the idea of ​​Hadrian’s Wall as a cultural bridge rather than a border static geography. Local communities are also invited to contribute to the artwork by designing ‘veils’ to add to each chime, helping to bring even more life to the piece. Anyone interested in taking part can email info@hadrianswall1900.co.uk for more information.

Once Aperture’s run is complete, it will be dismantled and distributed as wind chimes to local schools and community groups as a legacy of the 1900th anniversary year of Hadrian’s Wall. For other ways to get involved with the festival, see here and for the full program of events see here.

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Keith P. Plain