An artist is aiming to make South Shields the world’s most twinned town – by pairing lamp-posts and post boxes with others around the globe.
The current Guinness World Record for twinning is held by St Petersburg in Russia, but Scottish artist and theatre maker Eric Mac-Lennan hopes that – with the help of local people – the record can be brought to Shields.
South Tynesiders are being asked to make about 100 twinnings happen when Eric sets up his stall in the Central Library, in Prince Georg Square, from today.
He said: “Small objects such as a paving stone, a post box or a lamp-post can all be twinned with an equivalent in another part of the world.”
People can suggest an object that makes them think of a friend or relative in another place.
“It might be as far away as Australia or just across the water in North Shields.
Small objects such as a paving stone, a post box or a lamp post will all be twinned with an equivalent in another part of the world.Eric MacLennan
He added: “So we might show them a street lamp and ask them if they know it, ask them for a story associated with it, then ask if they know of another – its twin.
“Where is that place? Who do they know in that place? What’s their connection?”
A shop and a market stall will form the focus of the art project’s early gathering stages – with the aim of displaying photos of ordinary objects that lie on the route between the current Central Library and the new library, The Word.
Eric has been inspired by the philosophical writings of Xavier de Maistre, who encouraged a way of looking at the world so that the everyday and the mundane appear extraordinary and new.
He said: “If we make even tiny journeys with the outlook of a great explorer a trip of a few centimetres can become an adventure filled with discovery and surprise.”
Once all the material is gathered there will be a parade to celebrate the twinnings and on October 30, a large musical procession will cover the route between the two libraries.