***LAST FEW HOURS TO SUPPORT THIS PROJECT, PLEASE PLEDGE TO BRING BURNING MAN ARTIST DAVID BEST TO NORTHERN IRELAND!***
In Derry~Londonderry, a city historically split by religious and political divisions, there is a long-standing tradition of building and burning giant bonfires.
Temple is a radical arts project that aims to turn this tradition on its head, and we need your help to do it.
On the other side of the Atlantic, David Best, the Temple Builder, creates monumental, ornately-carved structures, each ceremonially burnt to mark the end of the Burning Man Festival in the Nevada desert, USA. David has designed and built eight of the fifteen temples that have been created at the festival since 2000, including this year's Temple of Grace.
Now Artichoke, a London-based creative company, is bringing David and his team to Derry to build a soaring temple that will stand high above the city. Built together with people from the local community, Temple aims to change perceptions in a huge group effort.
The tradition of bonfires in Northern Ireland goes back centuries. Made from hundreds of wooden pallets, these huge structures tower over the neighbourhoods in which they are built. Dark smoke hangs heavily in the air during bonfire season.
At the Burning Man festival in America they light a very different sort of bonfire.
Each year a team of volunteers, under David's direction, build a beautiful temple made out of recycled plywood. A place of profound spirituality, festival-goers use the temple for contemplation and remembrance; a space to pause, reflect and remember lost loved ones.
Over the course of each Burning Man festival, messages and mementos are added to the temple's walls. The festival climaxes as the structure is burned to the ground, with optimism and hope for the future rising from the ashes.
We want to bring David and his team to Derry to work with local people to construct a new spiritual destination. With your support, Temple will be a temporary shared space that will bring everyone together in a truly astounding collaborative creation.
Temple will be built by the people of Derry themselves. Working with partners including the Nerve Centre, the Department for Employment and Learning and the Waterside Neighbourhood Partnership, there will be opportunities for people to learn new skills through apprenticeships, a back-to-work scheme and voluntary training opportunities.
A group of young people will be trained to use Computer Aided Design (CAD) at the Nerve Centre’s Fablab in Derry to cut the temple’s intricate panels.
Further training in local schools will also take place with students as part of their ICT classes, and a team of unemployed builders will have the chance to join a back-to-work scheme to help with the construction of the temple.
Young people not in education, employment or training that are part of a Youth Employment Scheme will gain skills as they help raise and complete the structure.
There will also be the chance to volunteer as a Guardian, to to look after the temple and the people that visit. Or maybe you'll want to visit the structure and leave a message.
The temple will be built in the Waterside area of Derry. It will take two weeks to build before it is opened to the public in March 2015. Everyone will be invited to cover the temple’s interior with their own messages and contributions. It will be open for one week before it is burned in a special ceremony.
Artichoke are creative producers based in London, well known for their ground-breaking and ambitious work. Always outdoors and almost always free, their projects are dedicated to transforming public spaces with great art and changing the way people feel about their surroundings. Previous projects include The Sultan’s Elephant (2006), La Machine in Liverpool (2008), Peace Camp at coastal locations across the UK (2012) and Lumiere, the UK’s biggest light festival, which has taken place in Durham three times and last year was programmed to bring Derry’s year as UK City of Culture to a close. Over 180,000 visitors enjoyed light installations across the city in what was dubbed ‘the jewel in the crown’ of the year of cultural events, and this project marks the return of the company to the city.
Why put so much effort into something that will be set on fire?
This project draws on the traditions of burning in Northern Ireland, but is about the creation of a safe, inclusive space. Its ephemeral nature is essential to its success, because, in David’s words, 'to fully let go of the past, nothing physical can be left behind'.
Temple will look to the future and help everyone move on. The lasting impact will live on in Derry’s inhabitants, and how they choose to shape what happens next.
Funding so far
With the help of Arts Council of Northern Ireland and other partners we are already halfway towards our overall fundraising goal. This project is also the first recipient of a grant from the new Burning Arts Programme, but we still have a long way to go, and need your help to reach the target.
We need your help to make this project happen!
Please take a look at the rewards and support us in any way you can. Tell your friends, share this page on Facebook and Twitter and help spread the word, help bring this incredible project to Northern Ireland.
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Risks and challenges
Both Artichoke and David Best have a strong track record when it comes to running complex and large scale participatory projects and are confident that we can deliver this extraordinary project successfully.
David has experience in building structures that can withstand the 90 mph winds and extreme weather conditions common to the Nevada desert. David has also worked in number of different cities building temples within urban communities, including Detroit and San Francisco. His team are highly skilled at working with large groups of volunteers from all backgrounds and walks of life to create work of a high standard.
Artichoke have worked in Northern Ireland twice before with projects Peace Camp by Deborah Warner in collaboration with Fiona Shaw, and Lumiere, the largest light festival in the UK. We successfully managed the four day celebration of light that included over twenty art installations at locations across Derry as the closing event for Derry UK City of Culture. Over 175,000 people enjoyed the spectacular programme, and we worked closely with local communities, land and building owners, production and technical specialists to ensure the successful delivery of over 20 complex installations in the public realm.
We are committed to minimising the environmental impact of our events. All wood and materials used in the construction of Temple will be sustainably sourced and will comply with the BS EN 314-2 standard to reduce carbon emissions and will be E1 rated.
Through our work in the city over the last 18 months to deliver Lumiere Derry-Londonderry, we have developed an in-depth knowledge of the local sensitivities and the current political landscape, and very strong relationships with local partners. We consulted widely throughout the city with a number of partners before we proceeded with this project, including the Neighbourhood Renewal Areas, Towards Understanding and Healing, the Department for Employment and Learning's Youth Employment Scheme, the Department for Culture, Arts and Leisure, Derry City Council and the Department for Social Development.
We will work with local partners to invite the broadest possible range of participants from across the city to ensure balanced representation, and we will be working with local partners to ensure this.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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