Decommissioned oil rig to reopen as public art installation

Decommissioned oil rig to reopen as public art installation
See Monster, a decommissioned North Sea offshore platform, which has been transformed into one of the UK’s largest public art installations (Ben Birchall/PA)
PA Wire/PA Images - Ben Birchall

A 450-tonne decommissioned oil rig that has been transformed into an interactive art installation in Weston-super-Mare will open to the public from Saturday.

Dubbed “See Monster”, the former North Sea platform now features four publicly accessible levels that play host to a wild garden of plants, grasses and trees.

The installation also includes an amphitheatre, a multi-level slide, a 6,000-piece kinetic installation forming the monster’s “scales” and a 10-metre waterfall.

At the base of the 35-metre-tall structure is a broadcast studio.

Those behind the project are hoping it will transform perceptions around how out-of-date industrial infrastructure is disposed of.

The project was the brainchild of Leeds-based design and events company Newsubstance and forms part of the Unboxed: Creativity in the UK festival.

In July it was delivered to the beach of the North Somerset town and lifted on to a base at the Tropicana arts and music venue.

Patrick O’Mahony, creative director and founder of Newsubstance, said: “From the roar of the waterfall to the shimmering scales, we invite our audience to ascend the monster, running through clouds and exploring wild gardens until they reach the summit where they can see our monster’s home from a new perspective.

“We are thrilled that the public can now board See Monster, after witnessing its transformation over the past few months.

“We hope this once-in-a-lifetime experience, that started as an experiment in education and creativity in Weston-super-Mare, will go on to have a much greater and long-lasting legacy.”

Dr Ella Gilbert, climate science adviser to the project, said: “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.

“We know about the negative impact of our dependence on fossil fuels. Less often do we hear about the ways in which we can transform society for the better.

“See Monster is 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, to be excited by the science behind it and to learn how it helps us understand our planet.”

See Monster is open from September 24 to November 5 and is free to enter.

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