Wonderlooper event held on Sunderland’s newest bridge hailed a success

Visitors to Sunderland's Northern Spire bridge interact with instruments made from left over material from the construction of the Wear Crossing.
Visitors to Sunderland's Northern Spire bridge interact with instruments made from left over material from the construction of the Wear Crossing.

It was a magical, mystical day for 1,000 lucky visitors who were quick to snap up tickets for an unique event on Sunderland’s newest bridge.

The sounds of the Northern Spire were captured and played through a series of musical instruments known as Wonderloopers.

Artist Di Mainstone with one of the Wonderloopers.

Artist Di Mainstone with one of the Wonderloopers.

The creations were placed across the bridge, which was closed to traffic, where people could hear audio snapshots of Sunderland residents talking about their communities, while a half-way point gave visitors the chance to marvel at the structure’s design.

The Wonderlooper instruments were created from leftover materials from the bridge and are the invention of artist Di Mainstone, who was commissioned to work with communities on both sides of the Wear on the IN-SPIRE project, to celebrate the opening of the new crossing.

Castletown resident Lee Stewart was at the display, along with daughters Daisy 10 and Lily, 12.

The family have featured in the exhibition giving soundbites for the audio used in the kaleidoscopes, while Daisy also featured in the event guide handed out to visitors.

It’s brilliant we have been given the chance to be involved in the exhibition as a family and to be a part of history.

Lee Stewart

Lee said: “I think the event has been great and it’s a great opportunity for people to get up close to the bridge.

“It shows a different view point of the bridge that you wouldn’t normally see.

“It’s brilliant we have been given the chance to be involved in the exhibition as a family and to be a part of history.

“We weren’t born when the other bridges were open, so to have the chance to be here now and be part of the bridge opening, it is such a great opportunity.”

A total of 1,000 free tickets were up for grabs and all were snapped up.

Artist Di Mainstone said: “The event is the product of nine months work on and off. I was given the commission to work with communities to create a musical and visual cultural experience on the bridge.

“A number of workshops have taken place with the community and with the support of Fab Lab in Sunderland who helped to create the Wonderloopers.

“It’s so nice to see people coming out to experience the exhibition, it’s not everyday you can be on a bridge with no traffic.”

Rebecca Ball, creative director at Sunderland Culture, said: “It’s quite an usual event and we were delighted at how quickly the tickets went.

“Hopefully, everyone who has come down will go away having a lovely experience.”

For more details visit www.playthebridge.org