Weston-super-Mare See Monster opens to public

·3 min read
The See Monster in Weston-super-Mare
See Monster will be welcoming the public for free until 5 November

A 450-tonne North Sea offshore platform that has been transformed into an art installation has opened to the public.

See Monster in Weston-super-Mare features four levels which host a wild garden of plants, grasses and trees.

It also includes an amphitheatre, a kinetic installation that forms the monster's "scales" and a waterfall.

Local residents were given first access to the site from 11:10 BST and it is due to open to the wider public from 09:00 on Saturday.

Queue of people outside See Monster
Local residents queued to be the first to get a glimpse of inside See Monster

The 35-metre-tall structure is believed to be the first of its kind in the world and is expected to welcome an estimated 300 people per day on board.

Those behind it are hoping it will transform perceptions about how out-of-date industrial infrastructure is disposed of.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

Unboxed, a national collection of 10 large-scale public art engagement projects, has received recent criticism about the £120m cost to the taxpayer, but chief creative officer Martin Green said it was "absolutely value for money".

See Monster has also been delayed by more than two months, and was originally expected to open from July.

It was delivered to the North Somerset town's beach on 13 July and was lifted on to a base at the Tropicana venue where it has dominated the skyline ever since.

See Monster, a decommissioned North Sea offshore platform that is set to become one of the UK's largest public art installations, arrives in Weston-super-Mare, in North Somerset.
The former North Sea offshore platform was delivered to the Tropicana in July

Executive member for placemaking and growth at North Somerset Council Mark Canniford said: "See Monster continues to offer a huge boost for our local economy, and the final stage of people climbing the rig will bring additional visitors to North Somerset during the autumns months, out of the usual tourist season."

Patrick O'Mahony, creative director and founder of Newsubstance, said: "We are thrilled 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.

"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."

The opening follows three drone shows from the monster which attracted crowds of tens of thousands to the town.

See Monster is open until 5 November and is free to enter.

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