“Something Wonderful in My Back Yard”, or “SWIMBY”, was originally conceived by producer Chloe Uden with the working title: “Transition Town – The Musical”. It tackles a very different subject to your common-or-garden musical: how do a motley group of ordinary, argumentative people persuade their make-do-and-mend, muddle-through market town to embrace community food and energy schemes and become more resilient? It was written by poet Matt Harvey and composer Thomas Hewitt Jones.
Early on in the process, I bumped into Matt at the Renewable Energy Marketplace show, and tickled his fancy with “Particulart” and the poetry of 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-para-dioxin. The idea was born for a character spending the musical on stage knitting carbon dioxide. And so “Particulart” and the pattern for knit-your-own carbon dioxide is featured in the SWIMBY musical songbook!
“Something Wonderful in My Back Yard: The Songbook”, Quixotic Press, 2015.
There were probably some comments at the first two pop-up appearances, but they were never recorded and so fade into the mists of time. Here are some nice ones from the appearance at Holy Ground in Exeter Cathedral, though.
Science in church – wonderful. You know it makes sense!
What an imaginative and informative display
The 3D graph certainly adds to the experience of the data, and makes an impact, bringing it to life. And who doesn’t love walking within a 3D logarithmic graph?
It was a great display, and a really interesting and moving service too xxx
Holy Ground happens once a month in Exeter Cathedral, usually on the second Sunday. The format is a service of Holy Eucharist at 7pm, followed by refreshments, then from about 8pm there is a choice between a silent meditation and a talk or panel discussion.
The evenings very often engage in social issues, which is why this December it was moved to the first Sunday to coincide with the Paris climate negotiations, and why the “Up in the Air” pop-up made a special appearance.
The service started by celebrating the beauty of creation, but then highlighted our culpability in destroying much of the Earth we are supposed to cherish. The congregation had the opportunity to make a response, following footsteps around the Cathedral, considering our own carbon footprint, and engaging with the pop-up.
In the second part of the evening, Martyn Goss from the Diocese of Exeter and European Christian Environmental Network spoke about ecotheology and climate change. We had a live Skype link to a colleague of his on the ground in Paris who could give us a flavour of the negotiations.
It was a privilege to be part of it. Here are a few photos by Clare and Sara Traynor.
Two 'suns' shining above the pop-up at the far end of the Cathedral
The view from the Lady Chapel
Engaging with the pop-up during the Holy Ground service
Exeter Cathedral is hosting an “Up in the Air” video installation for the duration of the Paris climate negotiations. I’m proud that it is part of ArtCOP21, the global climate art festival:
Climate change is often seen through a policy or scientific lens, and solutions are discussed only in political offices, boardrooms and negotiating halls. ArtCop21 launched ahead of the UN climate talks in Paris, aims to challenge those tropes. Climate is culture. What is required is the active engagement of citizens worldwide in the urgency, value and opportunities of a transition away from fossil fuels and the embracing of a greener, sustainable future economy.
There will also be an appearance of the “Up in the Air” pop-up at the Cathedral’s monthly Holy Ground service at 7pm on 6 December.