SEE MONSTER is one of the UK’s largest art installations, built and planted on a mega-platform standing on the beach of Weston-super-Mare.
The massive oil rig structure was once a gas platform n the North Sea. Weighing 450-tonnes, it was brought by barge to Weston and heaved by an even more massive crane over the town’s sea wall. 35 meters tall, it is going to be a landmark of the town while it’s there.
Beginning from the bottom. The whole structure stands in a giant black pool, reflecting all of its industrial and organic shapes, pounded to froth by the waterfall from above. The waterfall is powered by wind and solar installations on the structure, and meant to open discussion about the fertility of British weather, and how water could be better used while it’s still ample.
Above that is a 6000-piece kinetic sculpture, the scales of the SEE MONSTER that ripple in the window and reflect light around in jumping, sweeping sparks. And topping it all is a lush garden of plants, grasses, and even mature trees, all chosen to withstand the winds and gales of the UK coast in autumn. Jutting through the greenery are the original structures of the oil rig, its long crane and catwalks and rail. No attempt has been made to hide the industrial soul of the SEE MONSTER – that’s not the point.
NEWSUBSTANCE, the Leeds-based creative studio that forged SEE MONSTER, wanted to pioneer reuse – the large-scale recycling of structures that have outlived their function.
“SEE MONSTER reminds us how our industrial history has shaped our climate, and how we can transform our future by repurposing infrastructure like oil and gas platforms. (…) an opportunity to see and hear about the kind of solutions and possible futures we can create together and to be awed and amazed by the spectacular sights and sounds of the weather,” said Dr. Ella Gilbert, climate science adviser to SEE MONSTER.
The installation is part of the large-scale art festival “UNBOXED: Creativity in the UK,” and will be open to visitors from September 24 to November 5, 2022.
Photo: PJ photography / Shutterstock