Sun Henge at the Green Backyard
By tov617, Dec 28 2016 10:17PM
Winter Solstice / Midwinter / Christmas 2016 to early 2017
Sea Plastic Torii Henge was a sculptural installation originally conceived and made for the Peterborough Environment and City Trust Green Festival 2016. The wood - branch framework has been developed and enlarged into a Torii–Henge monument at the Green Backyard during 17th and 18th December 2016, in time for the Winter Solstice on the 21st December 2016. Made from locally sourced round wood branches and effectively fixed together using modern fastening techniques, it is planned that the structure will available during opening hours be for visitors to the Green Backyard to enjoy and volunteers to decorate.
The alignment of the henge and features of its construction is measured and made to coincide with the rising and setting of the winter sun at and around the Solstice and thus help illustrate the intertwined connection of the inhabitants of Peterborough to the movements of the solar system and wider universe. The henge after opening has been adorned with freshly cut greenery to reflect the seasonal time of year of the midwinter and Christmas festivities. It is hoped the structure will provide a focus for promotion for the Green Backyard and it provided a social event for community engagement around the solstice time.
Torii doors from Shinto shrines are symbolic doorways passing from the mundane world to the spiritual world, literally translated torii equates to ‘bird perch’. Here torii doors have been joined into circular structures evocative of henge monuments from Prehistory such as Stone Henge or Wood Henge.
Two such structures were made in the lead up to and for the Green Festival in Peterborough, August 2016. This build developed the ‘Sea Plastic Torii Henge’ as built in the Peterborough Cathedral precincts for the PECT Green Festival 2016.
The available space lent to a structure about 30ft diameter on mostly clear, roughly level ground most of the Torii-henge is some 7ft tall, the Sun Gate, an enlarged opening with extended rails positioned at 11am and 1pm using the sun on the 18th December as guide measures some 10ft high
The build was led by James Tovey, with astronomers Chris Pounsett and Duncan Vessey aligning the posts and henge to the solar system, Duncan Vessey of Castor Ales aided with wood sourcing from local tree surgeons.
Text for Sea Plastic Torii Henge built for the PECT Green Festival 2016 in the Peterborough Cathedral precinct:
The gate to the North West is aligned to sunset on the summer solstice, June 21st. Every day from the summer solstice the sun rises and sets a bit further South until it reaches the winter solstice; at which point it turns around and starts heading North again. Thus the cycle of the seasons continues and has done for the last 4.5 billion years, despite the small doings of man. Here Sea Plastic has been hung from the henge structure. Feel like a dolphin, seal or turtle would as it has to navigate the discarded debris of our collective plastic consumption.
Sun Henge Build Team 17th and 18th Dec 2016:
Rich Hill (Green Backyard)
Logistics and support
The Henge was officially opened by:
Lauren Kendrick (Green Backyard) and Jen Orrell (PECT) at 12noon on the 21st December 2016 with the David Lowndes of the Peterborough Telegraph there to record the event.
Gill Vessey of OMYOGA led a sun salutation to herald the start of the new solar year.
Thank you to everyone involved in making this happen and helping get it agreed and built so efficientlly and to The Green Backyard board of Trustees for deciding that the project could go ahead.
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JAMES TOVEY COPYRIGHT 2020