Belfast Telegraph

Artist to blaze a trail in Derry as he turns art into towering inferno

By Donna Deeney

Work is beginning on a massive piece of public art that will then be ceremoniously burned.

The project marks the return to Londonderry of Artichoke, the company behind the hugely successful Luminere.

A towering temple structure will be approximately 70ft high when completed and visible right across the city. It is the creation of David Best, the international artist famous for the buildings he creates for the annual Burning Man Festival in the Nevada desert.

The intricate structures are made from recycled wood and each is built with the help of hundreds of volunteers.

Volunteers from both communities have already signed up to be part of Derry's own Burning Man, which will be situated at an interface area between Irish Street and Top of the Hill in the Waterside.

The structures have spiritual significance as spaces for remembrance and forgiving and are ritually burned to the ground at the end of the event, along with the personal messages, mementos and offerings left inside by participants.

John Peto, director of education at the Nerve Centre in Derry, one of the project's local partners, said: "'Temple' is going to be one of the biggest and most dynamic projects that Derry has ever seen.

"The chance to get involved in actually building it is something that people will remember proudly for the rest of their lives.

"To do that, and actually learn some real digital skills at the same time, is a great opportunity to both take part in something truly amazing and train for the digital economy."

Volunteers will use computer-aided design to cut the panels for the structure, and will have the opportunity to use other digital design techniques.

Once complete the artwork will serve as an impressive attraction where members of the public will be able to visit and leave their momentos and messages, which will be burned with the construction at the end of the project.

Artichoke producer Jennifer Crook explained the concept: "The community engagement programme is at the heart of this project and its legacy, and our partners are key to helping us deliver it.

"The Nerve Centre has provided invaluable support for Temple right from the start.

"We're excited to be working with them now as the build begins."


Collaboration is central to artist David Best's work and since 2000 he has been building his soaring, ornately carved temples at the Burning Man Festival in the Black Rock Desert in Nevada. Best's temple projects were ritually burned from 2000 to 2004. The event, which started in 1986, is described as "an experiment in community, art, radical self-expression and radical self-reliance".

Belfast Telegraph


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