Jem Finer, aforementioned ringer, former Pogue, and artist-in-residence at the Oxford Astrophysics group, has created Landscope on the shores of Lough Neagh, near Belfast. Landscope is a radio telescope, a camera obscura, (neither of these are metaphors), and it is also the story of the residents of Lough Neagh: science, history, a work of art. I haven’t seen it yet; it will be streamed on the internet this weekend, and then at Ormeau Baths Gallery in Belfast proper from 17th February through 25 March.

Meanwhile, over in New York, Christo and Jeanne-Claude are fulfilling their own strange but kind of wonderful dream of swathing Central Park in fluttering orange fabric, in their project called The Gates. We sometimes forget that one of the purposes of art (one purpose, not the only purpose, and indeed a purpose that isn’t always necessary) is to create beauty; The Gates is not just beauty but public beauty: free for all (and indeed they are giving away one million swatches of the fabric they designed for the project — first come, first served!).

Alas, I am unlikely to make it over to Northern Ireland for Landscope, and even less likely to make it to Manhattan during The Gates‘s short tenure (but still contemplating my long-term project of visiting Smithson‘s Spiral Jetty…).