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Planting Starts for York Mediale Environmental Project

The life of pollinating insects will be the theme for an installation for York Mediale, which runs from 27 September to 6 October 2018, and work started this weekend on the first stage of the project: a timber plant pavilion, which will grow, bloom and entice insects to the unique attraction.

The Pollinarium is a project by Loop.pH, a spatial laboratory that creates art installations around the world with an ecological and environmental theme. The Pollinarium itself, which is a huge inflatable structure, will be installed in September, but before that, a team of artists and volunteers have created the timber plant pavilion which houses hundreds of pots of local flowering plants to attract insects.

“We’ve just installed the first part of this project – a wooden planting structure inspired by cathedral arches – in the Artists Garden at York Art Gallery, which will grow over the summer months to create a particularly attractive environment for all kinds of pollinating insects, from bees and beetles to butterflies and moths,” comments Rachel Wingfield, co-founder of Loop.pH.  “We’ve been working with the team from St Nick’s Centre for Nature and Green Living (York) to choose suitable plants, and then they will be running workshops and activities themed around pollination throughout the summer for visitors to the garden.”

The next stage – and a signature design for Loop.pH – will be ‘Archilace’, a structure made from carbon fibre and fibre-reinforced plastic to form a living structure for climbing and trailing plants to grow around.  Described as ‘urban knitting’ to reflect the way that strands of the fibre are twisted together to create architectural honeycomb-style freestanding wall sections, this unique technique has been used to create stunning sculptures in the grounds of Kensington Palace, Kew Gardens and Versailles, France with a piece in the permanent collection of the MoMA, NY.

The final stage of the project, which has been co-commissioned by York Mediale, York Museums Trust and Invisible Dust and will open on Saturday 29 September, will see visitors invited to step inside a mixed reality environment, to experience the world through the senses of a pollinating insect.

“Education is such an important part of York Mediale, and the Loop.pH team are amongst the best in the world at creating beautiful structures with a strong environmental message that can be understood by young and old alike.  The wooden pavilion and Archilace are both beautiful structures that will entice people in for a look and to find out more, and the St Nick’s team will be on hand at events throughout the summer,” comments Mark Carlin of York Mediale.  “When it is complete in September, with the plants all fully grown, we hope that many people will return to gain a unique perspective on pollination – seeing the world through the eyes of a pollinating insect in a remarkable immersive experience.”

Laura Turner, exhibition programme officer for York Museums Trust, adds, “At this time of year York Museum Gardens positively buzz with pollinators attracted to the many floral displays. These often tiny creatures are sometimes overlooked so we are delighted to be putting them centre stage in our Artists Garden this summer.  It is a fascinating project and we hope visitors will enjoy seeing it develop over the coming days and then transform into an innovative and immersive experience in time for the much anticipated York Mediale.”

The full programme of family-friendly events over the summer will be posted at https://yorkmediale.com/events/the-pollinarium.  All events are free.