Commissions for ‘Artists Taking the Lead’ / Cultural Olympiad announced

The twelve regional winners of Artists Taking the Lead, the major art commissions for the Cultural Olympiad part of the London 2012 Olympics, were announced on 22 October.

Although the winners are more strongly based in installation, sculpture and visual arts, several do have performance and participation elements as well as an environmental sensibility. Those winners include:

North East
FLOW

by Owl Project, based on a concept by Ed Carter.

  • FLOW is an environmentally sustainable floating waterwheel and mill house. Entering the mill house will be like entering a turn of the century workshop where basic electronics, wood and water replace metal and steam, creating an accessible and interactive art space on the River Tyne.
  • The artwork will generate its own power and combine traditional and new technologies to monitor the river’s environmental details including water temperature, speed, and turbidity.
  • A series of Owl Project musical instruments on display in the mill house, will respond to this data. The audience will be able to interact with these instruments, performing alongside each other and the Tyne itself.
North West
Projected Column
by Anthony McCall
  • Projected Column will be a slender, spinning column of cloud rising into the sky from the surface of the water in Birkenhead’s disused Morpeth dock in Merseyside, directly opposite the city of Liverpool.
  • Extending upwards as far as the eye can see, and visible on a clear day from up to 100 km away, the column will disappear and re-appear in slow structured sequences, punctuating the skyline whilst connecting it with the city and its docks.
  • Projected Column will recycle discarded local heat, and, day or night, will operate as a self-sustaining system.
South East
The Boat Project
by Lone Twin (Gary Winters and Gregg Whelan)
For The Boat Project Lone Twin will ask the people of the South East to donate a wooden object of personal significance, be it a favourite pencil, a much used dining table, or the garden shed, to be used in the building of a sea-faring boat.
The community, guided by a professional boat builder and using a combination of traditional and contemporary construction techniques, will then build a boat from the donated wood. The boat and a book collecting the stories of the contributors will be launched in May 2012.
Crewed by trained community members, the boat will make a two-week maiden ‘Olympic’ voyage in June 2012, becoming the focus of four celebratory arts events.
South West
nowhereisland
by Alex Hartley
For nowhereisland Alex Hartley will bring Nymark, an island he discovered in the High Arctic region of Svalbard in 2004, to the South West of England. The island, about the size of a football pitch, consists of rubble and moraine around a small amount of bedrock. It was revealed from within the melting ice of a retreating glacier and Alex was the first human to ever stand on it. The island has been recognised by the Norwegian Polar Institute and is now named and included on all maps and charts.
A portion of the island will be transported to South West England through international waters and whilst en route will apply for micronation status. The new ‘micronation’, nowhereisland will navigate the entire 702 miles of the coast of the South West region, visiting its ports and harbours accompanied by a travelling embassy/support vehicle.
The project explores climate change, land ownership, national identity and the exploitation of the Earth’s remaining natural resources. At the end of the Olympic year, the island will return to the Arctic to be made whole again.
Scotland
Forest Pitch
Craig Coultard
Craig Coulthard’s Forest Pitch involves a football pitch hidden within a forest. Trees are felled to make way for a football pitch and used to create a stand, goalposts and a shelter that will act as both changing room and exhibition space. One football match is scheduled to be played on the pitch, open to spectators and once the match has taken place, the pitch will be left to become taken over by nature again. The changing room is kept as a simple exhibition space to document the project.
The pitch itself, with surrounding infrastructure will become a living relic of the Olympics, in contrast to the new buildings created in London for the Games.
Wales
ADAIN AVION
by Marc Reed
For ADAIN AVION, a fuselage of an abandoned DC9 airplane is recycled and transformed into a mobile art space. It will travel across Wales ‘nesting’ in different locations having arrived at the site pulled by a large team of local athletes, youth groups and other members of the community.
In each location the project will engage the community in a festivity marking the arrival of the plane in the form of a colourful procession, including a specially commissioned composition which will be played by local brass bands heralding the arrival of this migratory ‘bird’.
During the nesting week, a series of arts, cultural, sporting and community activities will take place in and around the space.
Shortlisetd for the commission were NVA and Red Earth. Both are companies represented here on the Directory.
The commissioning is developed by Arts Council England, with London 2012 and the arts councils of Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

www.artiststakingthelead.org.uk

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