A decommissioned North Sea offshore platform has been transformed into one of the UK’s largest public art installations ‘SEE Monster.’ Visitors to the Tropicana on Weston-super-Mare’s seafront will be welcome onboard for the first time beginning on Saturday, September 24th. The installation hopes to spark conversations surrounding reuse and renewables.
Commissioned as part of ‘UNBOXED: Creativity in the UK,’ the assemblage spans four levels, each accessible to the public and animated by a ten meter-high (thirty-three foot) waterfall. An alternate route across the space is offered by a multi-level slide while a 6,000-piece kinetic installation is expressed as shimmering scales. The space further comprises kinetic wind sculptures, a wild garden of seaside grasses, plants and trees, artist-designed experiments in sustainable energy generation, an amphitheater, sweeping views from the heli-deck, and a broadcast studio.
SEE MONSTER, part of ‘UNBOXED: Creativity in the UK. Courtesy of Ben Birchall, © PA Media
the see monster transformation by newsubstance
Overall, SEE Monster rises thirty-five meters (115 feet) over the coast of Weston-super-Mare. The industrial structure’s ambitious transformation into a public installation is an unprecedented engineering achievement led by Leeds-based creative studio NEWSUBSTANCE. In July, the 450-tonne (992,000-pound) platform was transported by sea on a barge as large as a football pitch to the beach at Weston-super-Mare, famous for having the second highest tidal range in the world. It was then lifted by crane over the seawall onto prefabricated legs within the Tropicana.
the ‘garden lab’ on the sea
SEE MONSTER’s Garden Lab, will feature trees reaching nine meter-high trees, plants and grasses, selected to be resilient to salty breezes and Atlantic gales; SEE MONSTER’s roar, the waterfall, will continually recirculate through the pools at its base; and the impact of the weather will be seen and heard as the wind moves through the installations and garden, intended to prompt discussion about the science behind the great British weather and how it can support a sustainable future.
a ‘windnest’ of renewable energy
WindNest, designed by artist Trevor Lee, brings together art and renewable energy and comprises two rotating airborne pods, generating clean energy through wind and solar technology that will power the irrigation system for The Garden Lab. WindNest is made in collaboration with Land Art Generator Initiative, an art and design-led renewable energy team that looks for innovative solutions to help achieve a net-zero carbon future.
Kinetic sculptor Ivan Black has created two sculptures representing the sun and moon that are set in motion by the wind. Sections of the sculptures rotate on their symmetrical axes and are designed to be in constant chaotic but graceful motion. Made from aluminum, they are designed to withstand the elements particularly the corrosive salt in the sea air and to instill a sense of wonder as to how they work. Ivan describes them as much as works of engineering as art and said: ‘I hope they will inspire others to think creatively about engineering.’
project title: SEE Monster
location: Weston-super-Mare, UK
photography: courtesy of Ben Birchall, © PA Media