The Secret Garden Party reveals this year’s installations

While many UK summer music festivals have tried to embrace public art, interactives and installations in recent years, in many cases it appears a bit bolted on – a bit of an afterthought.

The Temple by An Architecture
The Temple by An Architecture

By contrast The Secret Garden Party, which isn’t that secret – here’s the website – has a Secret Arts division, which has garnered a reputation for delivering some heavyweight installations.

This year the festival is imbued with the theme Superstition, which has been broadly interpreted by installation artists.

Although ultimately an inconvenience, being pooped on by a bird is said to be good luck. Armed with this knowledge Hungry Castle, the people bringing you the incredible Lionel Richie’s Head at Bestival this summer, have also designed Lucky Shit.

This brilliantly infantile contraption appears to have been taken straight from the pages of Viz. 

Sparingly and indiscriminately, after spending large periods of time doing absolutely nothing, a giant bird sculpture will ‘shit’ yellow muck on people who dare to walk beneath it. Yum.

Elsewhere we can expect a giant florescent triangle, which is a gateway to a space mirrored on all three sides.

Luz - as it will later appear at Burning Man festival - by Les Mechants
Luz – as it will later appear at Burning Man festival – by Les Mechants

The installation is called Luz, has been designed by Les Merchants and will give the sense of being inside a kaleidoscope. Geometric patterns on a hand screen-printed floor will conjure an infinity perspective. Indeed your own reflection will be refracted into an eternity of fragments.  But you will leave fully formed.

While details of a centre-piece lake sculpture by Pirate Technics remain under lock and key, we can tell you The Temple by An-Architecture, will rise out of the site’s main lake, and can be accessed by a pier designed by artist Edward Lewllyn, giving festival goers a unique view gained through gaps in its mesh of beams.

The Temple by An Architecture
The Temple by An Architecture

If you can climb up to the top, as well as a confusing view below through the interlocking beams, you’ll be able to see across the lake and over the rest of the site.

We Find Comfort in the The Common by It’s Nice That is a presentation of three works that look at the ambiguity of horoscopes, and tackle Superstition head on.

While the form of these remains deliberately ambiguous, we are at this stage aware of contextual research by the likes of David McCandless, which will feed into the pieces.

Part of the We Find Comfort in The Common series by It's Nice That
Part of the We Find Comfort in The Common series by It’s Nice That

McCandless conducted a study in 2011, which showed how 90 per cent of the words used in a sample of horoscopes were exactly the same.

It led him to write the following meta-prediction that could be applied to any star sign on any day of the year: ‘Whatever the situation or secret moment, enjoy everything a lot. Feel able to absolutely care. Expect nothing else…Keep making love. Family and friends matter… Help and talk to others. Change your mind and a better mood comes along.’

The Street by Katy Beveridge and Fernando Laposse
The Street by Katy Beveridge and Fernando Laposse

Kat Beveridge has looked at the ghostly side of Superstition for The Street, a piece made up of ‘flying paper houses’ which are inert and invisible by day but at night take on a haunting presence as they appear to rise from the lake.

The White Death is an extraterrestrial take on this year’s theme, and provides a safe zone from the electromagnetic bombardment we are all subjected to everyday.

Created by Bob Winslow, it’s essentially a Faraday cage and will protect festival goers from electromagnetic radiation – the stuff of radioactive rocks, neutron stars, and radio transmitters – which is apparently harmless.

Winslow’s supposition is that this electromagnetic radiation is in fact the work of extraterrestrials scanning us from space ships, and the mating calls of creatures burrowing toward the earth core.

Twilight Tweets by Tetsuro Nagata and Guy Woodhouse
Twilight Tweets by Tetsuro Nagata and Guy Woodhouse

We’re excited about Twilight Tweets by Testuro Nagata and Guy Woodhouse, which will see a parliament of owls take to the trees. By day they will sleep, twitch and flutter, and by night they will come alive – responding to each other, and people below.

Their party piece is unfolding their wings to form screens, which will display short films shown elsewhere in the day.

Meanwhile Leeland Crane is creating 3rd Planet, which is being kept under wraps, but organisers tell us it’s about ‘awe, beauty,  perspective and introspection.’

The context, is the 1967 photograph of earth captured from space and how it changed the way we perceive ourselves.

Secret Garden Party takes place from 25-28 July, Mill Hill Field, Grange Farm, Abbots Ripton, Huntingdon, PE28 2LA

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