Photo: SEE MONSTER, a repurposed North Sea platform; Source: unboxed2022

Repurposed North Sea rig closes its doors to go back to its decommissioning cycle

Following its arrival in Weston-super-Mare, SEE MONSTER, a decommissioned North Sea platform, underwent its transformation into a large-scale public art installation. However, the rig’s new lease on life has now come to an end and it is expected to be recycled in the UK.

Back in October 2021, the project about reimagining and rehabilitating a retired North Sea industrial structure was unveiled and the town of Weston-super-Mare was selected as one of ten locations across the country to host this flagship, national arts and culture installation. As it reused industrial structures and included renewable energy, the project was expected to spark discussions about using such things in the future.

The offshore platform was scheduled to arrive by sea at Weston-super-Mare on Tuesday, 12 July 2022, to be turned into SEE MONSTER. The 450-tonne platform, weighing the same as three blue whales or 65 African elephants, arrived at its destination on Wednesday, 13 July 2022, to take up its new lease on life. It was transported on a flatbed barge as large as a football pitch to the Tropicana and lifted by a crane over the seawall onto pre-constructed legs on 16 July 2022 to “ignite the arrival of SEE MONSTER.”

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This project, which won support from the North Somerset Council, was brought to life by NEWSUBSTANCE in collaboration with Dose of Society, REDHOUSE, Rocket Women, Empowering Women with Tech, Ivan Black kinetic sculptor along with representatives from the British Antarctic Survey.

According to NEWSUBSTANCE, SEE MONSTER has closed its doors after eight weeks of welcoming hundreds of thousands of visitors onboard. However, this is not the end for this structure, as it is now expected to enter its dismantlement stage and return to its decommissioning cycle. These activities will be ongoing until January 2023 and will be led by the engineers that bought it to Weston.

While people can no longer go on board the SEE MONSTER, they can still experience it through the Virtual Tour, the Audio Tour, and Weathering Together, an immersive audio piece by artist Joseff Harris, featuring the voices of Weston. 

Parts of its structure such as the Solar Tree and WindNest are going to be donated to local projects, and the Garden Lab’s trees and plants will be reused by North Somerset Council in parks and public spaces. On the other hand, the steelwork that makes up “the bones of the beast” will be recycled within the UK. 

Motivational career talks from local business people and SEE MONSTER collaborators, resources from the Land Art Generator Initiative that inspire young minds to design their own clean energy-generating artwork, and discussions on resourcing the green economy from the Natural History Museum Takeover, will continue to be available to the public.

In addition, those who did not get an opportunity to visit SEE MONSTER in person or want to re-live the experience can still discover what this art installation was about by accessing the 360 Virtual Tour. This will enable people to “revisit the calming views of the Helideck, meander through the foliage of the Garden Lab or hear the roar of SEE MONSTER’s waterfall. Experience the beast during the day, or in the evening, and learn more from the collaborators and partners who bought it to life.”

“SEE MONSTER has been one of our most ambitious projects to date and what a journey it has been! A genuine world first in reuse and one we hope provides a blueprint for the future. We want to express our sincere thanks to everyone that has helped make this project a reality – we certainly couldn’t have achieved this without any of our incredible collaborators,” said NEWSUBSTANCE.

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