Visitors to Kings Cross
will be able to scan the night sky for an intriguing illumination from mid-November, thanks to an artwork that will be hovering over the area for the next two years.
IFO (Identified Flying Object) will light up the sky by night and come to rest on the ground by day as part of RELAY, an art programme that is being created for the Kings Cross redevelopment.
Anglo-French curating partnership Michael Pinsky and Stéphanie Delcroix have been selected to coordinate the first three years of a nine-year arts programme that is set to turn the Kings Cross area into a destination for discovering international contemporary art. RELAY, the programmes title, is inspired by: the carrying and preserving of the Olympic flame; Kings Cross as an international transport hub and a place in transition; the notion of the human chain - the transfer passengers at Kings Cross make from one means of transport to another - and the phasing of the development scheme.
The first RELAY installation, IFO, is by French artist and architect Jacques Rival. The bars of IFOs 9m high, dome-shaped cage are wide enough apart to walk through, so visitors during the day can enter the cage and sit on the swing at its centre, enjoying the surroundings from this unusual vantage point. By night, the bars of the cage will be illuminated in a brilliant array of colours and once a month the whole artwork will be hoisted up into the air by the biggest crane on the site.
Jacques Rivals response to Kings Cross is both poetic and pertinent, say Pinsky and Delcroix. This nomadic sculpture follows the flux and flow of this new district which is evolving day by day. Over the coming months IFO will be found over coffee kiosks, amidst the construction sites, on buildings and, of course, in the sky. Its structure will host seminars, cafes, gardens and performances.
The area already has a rich tradition of artistic activity and is a hub for art lovers, with Kings Place on the doorstep and 5,000 staff and students from Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, part of the University of Arts London, now based in Kings Cross.
Anna Strongman, spokesperson for Kings Cross Central, says: "It's great to have such an exciting piece of art created especially for King's Cross. King's Cross has always been of interest to artists and that is something we want to build on in the future with projects like this. This will add to the diversity and vibrancy of the site, which continues to come alive with the opening of the UAL campus, King's Boulevard, eat.st and now the unveiling of RELAY."
Rival is also contributing a piece to LUMIERE 2011, the light festival in Durham (17-20 November) for which 34 artists will create a dazzling series of installations and projections to illuminate Durham's buildings, streets and bridges. "I Love Durham" will cover the controversial equestrian statue of Lord Londonderry, a much disliked 19th century pit owner. Rival's outsize version of a tourist snow globe trinket will encase the unfortunate Londonderry in a snowstorm.