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Through language and cooperation come creativity, invention, critique and a diversity of interpretation and understanding.  


An art, research and educational project which will investigate the insatiable human thirst for knowledge through the competitive need to progress.


We are born and from that primary position are manoeuvred by others until we are able to stand upright and walk forward and with our eyes configured to scan the horizon we advance. Fuelled by our human conditions of curiosity and ambition which prevent us from resting on what we see and simply recognise.


We pursue what lies beyond our horizon; the unknown, in an attempt to investigate all matters physical and cognitive, spatiotemporally occupying planet Earth; travelling and shifting our gaze to find something that will improve our scientific, spiritual or metaphorical experience of it. Advancing our ability to navigate and travel; scrutinising the stuff in front of us, above our head and below our feet for greater profit and better understanding of our position within it

This project will not merely interpret data or known facts, but will creatively engage with relevant areas of mythology, science and faith, via the common thread of time.

The three areas

1: Above us – Sky

2: In front of and around us – the skin of our planet

3: Below us – below the ground and sea

Above: Dark Skies

Allenheads Contemporary Arts has been selected to host a dark sky observatory and manage a portable planetarium. This project has been ignited by our new partnership with the Allen Valleys Landscape Partnership to provide an observatory on ACA premises.

As well as strengthening our existing relationship with Durham University’s physics department this facility will come with a support system of expertise, technological resources and an educational and outreach team that will assist in involving a broad range of participants, local regional and nationally in the astrological and artistic programme of ACA’s events.

From ACA’s venue at the Old Schoolhouse artists, scientists and public will be offered a variety of ways to experience and interact with the wonders of the night sky.


1. Eye vision

2. Observatory telescope

3. A number of smaller, portable telescopes

4. Groups will be able to view a 4 metre projection from the telescope into the school

5. From inside a portable planetarium

Surface: The Skin

The term "travel" may originate from the old French word travail; from middle English travailen, travelen (which means to torment, labor, strive, journey) and earlier from old French travailler (which means to work strenuously, toil).


This will explore the significance of being, of standing on and navigating across and from the rotating, orbiting sphere we call Earth.


The residencies will look at the significance and meaning of travel; we will ask artists to consider what motivates journeying and consider the difference between being a tourist, migrant or stakeholder; historically and in the future.


Through our need for food, homesteading, escape from dangers and procreation we travel, to increase mobility

we created the wheel and sailing vessels and flight built roads to facilitate movement, enhancing trade, building empires and leisure; generating international mass tourism.


Technological advances have meant we no longer have to physically move, the internet allows us to be anywhere on and beyond our planet with the click of a mouse, virtual travel has distorted our perception of distances, freedom and even political ownership.


Below: Hollow Earth

In ancient times, the concept of a subterranean land inside the earth appeared in mythology, folklore and legends. The idea of subterranean realms became intertwined with the concept of "places" of origin or afterlife, such as the Greek underworld and the Christian Hell.


On a more scientific and applied level people travelled below ground to extract geological materials; to manipulate them into other amalgams, out of economic interest and enriched cultural potential.

Hollow earth will invite artists to engage with redundant manmade and natural hollows to explore their visual and acoustic properties for the production of imaginative works.


Just as miners have extracted planetary base minerals for their manipulation into materials for creative use in in the advance of human cultural and technological advance, artists will explore the resources below ground; extracting acoustic, visual and energy producing assets for processing onsite and in studio.


This project will be supported by AONB North Pennines, who will offer education outreach staff and expert geologists through Geoparks. The project will look towards including knowledge and artefacts from mine museums and mining enthusiasts.

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