DERRY-LONDONDERRY, Ireland – As the Northern Ireland city of Derry-Londonderry readies itself to become the first-ever UK “City of Culture” (a designation that highlights its reputation as a cultural hub) in 2013, it has commissioned artists Vong Phaophanit and Claire Oboussier, in collaboration with ARD Ciaran Mackel Architects, to create a public art piece called Mute Meadow.

When completed, the work will consist of 40 pairs of angled steel columns, each one ranging in height from 6 to 10 meters. The field of columns will then be lit at the base to invoke the image of an illuminated forest. Meanwhile, the residents of Derry-Londonderry have been invited to record the sounds of the city—including poetry recitals, traffic noise, music, and conversation—which will be captured and transformed into light waves. These waves will then be used to gently animate and color the light emitted from the base of the installation.

The work will stretch across the waterfront of the River Foyle and be accessible via the newly constructed Peace Bridge, which links the city center with Ebrington, a former British military site. This is the largest public artwork ever to be commissioned in Ireland and will cost an estimated 800,000 pounds. The commissioners hope it will serve as a symbol of the city’s transformation from a place of conflict to a place of culture.