A public art project by Stephen Turner

What creatures come alive as the moon rises into the heavens and the tides are drawn up from neaps to springs?

This is just one question posed by artist Stephen Turner who will venture into the night time environment of the wilder parts of Gravesham, Medway and Swale over the 28 days of a lunar month from mid July to mid August. Stephen Turner will use infra red photography, drawings and text to create a personal response to observations of the moon and the lives of different nocturnal creatures.

Material from these observances will be presented on line as they happen through the blog, updated daily with notations on the experience of each night’s activity; where the predictable movement of the moon, for example, overarches the organic, unexpected and chance meanderings of life in the landscape below.

Familiar places can seem like alien lands in complete darkness and I would like my work to communicate the thrill of exploring my passage through undiscovered country. I hope to find the extraordinary within the ordinary and excitement in the routine and commonplace that can sometimes be glimpsed though intensive looking.

In addition to the live action aspect of the commission, a moon-light box will be made to re-present the artist’s journey as a sort of ‘book of hours’ that helps to reconnect people with nature and the importance of natural cycles. These will be exhibited in community venues across the region and will be a key element of three moon viewing celebrations for September’s full moon.

The Moon View Celebrations

  • Swale – September 13th
  • Medway – September 15th
  • Gravesham – September 16th

Celebrations of the moon are common to cultures around the world from South East Asia to Europe (where much lore surrounds the harvest moon for example). Chinese and Japanese customs of moon viewing or Tsukimi, date back to the first century AD. Haiku poems are composed and read, ‘moon food’ is consumed and artificial light is used to complement that of the September moon.

Local artists, writers and students will be contributing to three events that draw on all these traditions, following workshops during the Summer with Stephen Turner, visual artist Wendy Daws and writer Katherine May.

These will include large outdoor projections of wildlife drawings, haiku reading, drawing with phosphorescent light, reflective mobiles on a lunar theme and not least a feast of moon themed food.