Artists turn city centre into time piece

A group of artists yesterday marked the summer solstice to turn Manchester into a giant sundial using the Beetham Tower to cast the shadow.

Annie Harrison, Jude Macpherson and Jacqueline Wylie, who collaborate as Tern Collective, spent from dawn to dusk on the longest day of the year tracking the tower's shadow for the artwork, called Manchester Time Piece. On the hour, every hour, they marked the position of the shadow by leaving behind a photograph of the Beetham Tower with the time, date and a short text. Their aim was to map the passage of time and to create a symbolic art work to mark the summer solstice.

Manchester Time PieceThe tower's architect, Ian Simpson, helped the artists by providing sunshine projection reports produced during the planning of the building to help forecast the shadow's movements.

Wylie said: "Everyone has an opinion about the Beetham Tower. Like it or not you can see it from wherever you are in Manchester, it dominates the skyline. We are interested to see how people interact with the artwork as it seems to have generated a good deal of comment already. We wanted to create an artwork that was thought provoking and yet very simple and immediate. As artists we share an interest in the urban environment and mapping and this project seemed the ideal vehicle to explore these themes further."

Tern Collective set up a Facebook group and Twitter account to update people with their progress in real time. The position of the 'hours' were plotted on a map to downloaded from their blog. Printed versions will also be available from Beetham Tower reception and other art venues in the city so that Manchester Time Piece can be found and experienced in-situ.

Manchester Time Piece is part of The Art Crawl – an artist-led multi-venue event that comes under the banner of the 'Not Part Of' fringe programme running alongside The Manchester International Festival 2 to 16 July 2011. The Art Crawl begins with a city-wide launch on 2 July and continues with a programme of events at the exhibition hub 'Crawl Space' on 9 to 10 July. For more information go to and

The artists are keen to collaborate with local people to best explore and discuss the work. Contact Details for Tern Collective:

  • Annie Harrison:
  • Jude Macpherson:
  • Jacqueline Wylie:
  • Follow on Facebook: Manchester Time Piece and Tern Collective
  • Twitter: @McrTimePiece
  • Blog: online now at:

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