Can you hear the horses? Unusual artwork brings galloping cavalry to historic site

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A new art installation-turned giant musical instrument has been intriguing visitors to the site of a Roman cavalry fort.

Cavalry 360° uses the force of the wind to mimic the sound of horses moving across the landscape.

Situated at Chesters Roman Fort on the banks of the North Tyne, the circular instillation stands where 500 men and horses were based nearly 2,000 years ago.

“This piece has been no easy feat to achieve and has involved a long process of testing over a period of six months to ensure that the visitor experience will match the artistic intent,” said Mark Nixon, the artist whose company NEON created the installation.

“Alongside the development of the artwork, much work has been done to ensure the piece meets all the engineering and technical constraints that come with building on such historic ground.

“We hope that Cavalry 360° will provide the visitor to Chesters with a fantastic and mesmerising experience.”

The large piece, commissioned by English Heritage, is part of the Arts Council England-funded Hadrian’s Cavalry exhibition.

Cavalry 360° is 3.5m high and 12 metres across and is made up of 32 wind turbines that drive hundreds of mini beaters against wooden blocks to generate the hoof-like sounds.

The circular form allows visitors to step into the work and look out through framed views of the fort and landscape.

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“This should be an incredible experience for our visitors,” said Kevin Booth, senior curator at English Heritage.

“It will give you a sense of a Roman cavalryman mid-charge or as an aggressor awaiting their fate.

“Our ethos of ‘bringing history to life’ is perfectly encapsulated in this unique installation.”

Cavalry 360° will be on display until 5 November.

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