There are many a city across Britain that, aside from being pleasant, are rather unremarkable in fact, it is their unreamarkability that deprives both its residents and us other folk the occasional curiousity. Yesterday, while most eyes were watching the rugby or protesting for #millionwomenrise on the streets of Whitehall, something decidedly peculiar was occurring above Milton Keynes. The city, famed for its green spaces and blue skies, turned 50 this year and as the community grew up too, so did it’s pride.
The city has designed a truly outstanding programme of events, interaction, and innovation for the year ahead. My personal favourite concept has been masterminded by local creative collectives, lace makers and renowned artist, Tom Dale.
By collaborating with small, independent artists something very remarkable indeed was displayed, in the (luckily clear) skies above Milton Keynes. It wasn’t a bird, or just a plane, it was an airborne artwork. The work featured several colour tones laid out like a standard colour swatch from a DIY store. The colour names Dale has used in his work are all taken from commercially available paints. The artwork, he said, “takes interior design to a cosmic level”.
A giant colour swatch, named Terminal Blue, will be towed by a plane around midday on Saturday, taking off from a local aerodrome and flying for an hour over Milton Keynes Arts Centre, then Willen Lake, Campbell Park, Midsummer Boulevard, Station Square, Magna Park, MK1 and Bletchley Park.
Paul Sanders, Assistant Director for Community Facilities at Milton Keynes said: “We’re delighted to be hosting the first airborne display of Tom’s work as part of our 50th anniversary celebrations. This will be a very exciting and vibrant, not to say unusual addition to the Milton Keynes skyline. It also sits wells with Milton Keynes high-flying ambitions. If you’re out and about in Milton Keynes tomorrow, don’t forget to look up and around at mid-day – it’s sure to be a spectacular sight!”
Artist Tom Dale added: “Terminal Blue is an invitation to look up at the sky and decide what colour it is today. It’s a chance to take a look at the abstract and the infinite and give it a name. We live with so much that we don’t understand. Giving a name to these things is the first step to changing that”
Timed for the approach of Spring, as Milton Keynes’ millions of daffodils emerge, the work gave residents the opportunity to spend a moment thinking about the City’s plentiful outdoor green spaces, whatever weather Saturday brings. Small postcard-size versions of Terminal Blue will be handed out on the ground all year so that residents can make their own reading of the blueness or otherwise of the sky and consider what to name the shade.
Residents are encouraged to take their own pictures of Terminal Blue using the hashtag #citylife. Live updates on progress will be issued via the @MKArtsCentre Twitter feed and on Instagram using the #citylife hashtag.
This is the first time that Terminal Blue will be seen in the skies above Britain.