This July, centre:mk will unveil three world-class interactive, environmentally themed art installations as part of IF: Milton Keynes International Festival, running from 10-30 July. As the headline sponsor of the festival, centre:mk, which is one of the UK’s top 10 shopping centres, will showcase three extraordinary, free-to-view installations in the unexpected environment of a shopping mall, offering the ultimate injection of culture as lockdown eases, as well as endless Instagram opportunities.
Promising fun for families, art-lovers and environmentally conscious shoppers alike, the centre’s installations have been curated with the environment in mind, giving a nod to centre:mk’s commitment to achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2035. Festival-revellers can enjoy the world premiere of Anna Berry’s ‘Breathing Room’, Yara + Davina’s ‘Arrivals + Departures’ and Luke Jerram’s ‘Gaia’.
Breathing Room, Queen’s Court
Anna Berry’s never-before-seen world premiere of Breathing Room is undoubtedly a must-see during the festival. Commissioned by festival producers The Stables, the large-scale, kinetic installation, which has been likened to a lung, allows visitors to walk through its pulsing illuminated tunnel interior, which is lined with thousands of delicate paper-like cones that move and breathe. Its mesmerising movement is generated by the ingenious mechanics of a sculptural exterior created from found objects, cogs, chains and bicycle parts.
Gaia, Middleton Hall
Measuring seven metres in diameter and featuring 120dpi detailed NASA imagery of the Earth’s surface, Luke Jerram’s stunning replica of the earth, Gaia, will make its debut at centre:mk in Middleton Hall. The monumental touring artwork can be seen alongside surround sound compositions by BAFTA and Ivor Novello award-winner Dan Jones, featuring voices including that of Sir David Attenborough. Jerram’s ‘Museum of the Moon’ installation will also be displayed in the lush greenery of the Park’s Trust Tree Cathedral at Newlands, making it the first time ever the two works have been exhibited in the same city in the UK.
Arrivals + Departures, City Square
Yara + Davina’s Arrivals + Departures is an interactive artwork rooted in the direct life and death experiences of local people – particularly poignant in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Taking the recognisable form of an arrivals and departures board, the artwork displays names of people, submitted by the public, as a way of celebrating and commemorating a birth (an arrival) or a death (a departure). Visitors and passers-by will be able to contribute names in-person to Festival Stewards, online and at Millton Keynes Central Library from Saturday 10 July.
Kevin Duffy, Centre Director, comments: “We are delighted to once again partner with IF: Milton Keynes International Festival and this year showcases three exceptional art installations throughout the centre. The thought-provoking environmentally themed installations reflect our ongoing commitment to becoming more environmentally and socially responsible, and will enhance centre:mk’s offering for visitors as restrictions continue to be eased.”
At the heart of Milton Keynes for over 40 years, centre:mk has continued to invest in being as socially and environmentally responsible as possible, working to build a more sustainable future for shoppers, staff and the wider community. Housed in a grade II listed building, centre:mk aims to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2035 by improving energy efficiency, decarbonising through the use of green energy, implementing reduce, reuse and recycle services across all waste streams and various other projects. Renewable energy sources are continually being trialled to drive energy efficiencies, and rainwater is harvested to reuse in the centre, capturing 2,088,000 litres of rain water each year – enough for 35,000 washing machine cycles.
In addition to the innovative installations dotted in centre:mk and its surrounding area, the festival will offer visitors a stellar line-up of unmissable events, including slapstick theatre shows, circus performances, comedy evenings with the likes of Russell Kane and Rich Hall, panel discussions, children’s workshops as well as live music and orchestra showcases.
For more information and to view the full programme for IF: Milton Keynes International Festival, please visit: www.ifmiltonkeynes.org