Four Welsh artists and ambassadors of song have been announced as the short-list of finalists for an innovative art commission that will connect art with infrastructure in Swansea Bay.
Leading the response to the £1 billion ground breaking zero carbon energy project, Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon are Swansea artist Owen Griffiths, Morriston Orpheus Choir, artist and writer Karen Ingham along with Tidal Voices comprising Rhys Trimble and Camilla Nelson. The short-list was announced at an event hosted by A&B Cymru at Bay Studios, Swansea.
The proposal from artist Owen Griffiths is based on looking at the feasibility of developing a mariculture project connected to a community agriculture structure within the lagoon. Morriston Orpheus Choir will work with Mal Pope to write a score for the lagoon which will include songs relevant to Swansea and its nautical history for incorporation into an educational and informative multimedia package.
Rhys Trimble and Camilla Nelson come together to form Tidal Voices; a series of bilingual workshops conducted in the Swansea area with local schools culminating in a live performance of a ‘tidal poetry choir’ and score installation in-situ.
Karen Ingham presented Small Wonders; a design concept for a medium scale interactive Analemmatic Sundial in glass and copper based on electron scanning and atomic microscopy studies of plankton, minute marine organisms that are vital to the stability of the marine ecosystem and the global carbon cycle.
More than 20 Wales based artists from all disciplines and ages submitted artwork which included sound, poetry, lighting and photography. Developed and promoted by international charity Cape Farewell, the commission will be funded by Tidal Lagoon Power Limited with £2500.00 prize money for each finalist.
Head of Engagement for Tidal Lagoon Swansea Bay Plc, Tessa Blazey says:
“Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon provides a new template; a power station that creates a public amenity and has the potential for low carbon power and culture to flourish together. From the outset the cultural programme was all about strengthening the understanding and exploration of community values and the environment, to increase stakeholder involvement in the development as a process intended to incorporate all members of the community. We worked closely with Swansea University, University of West Wales Trinity St David and The Low Carbon Research Institute to consider what the proposed tidal lagoon development would mean for the community and beyond.”
“Working with international charity Cape Farewell, we then established a cultural programme to create a forum for artists, scientists and communicators to be brought together to stimulate the production of art founded in scientific research. We have been blown away by the calibre of the submissions. This is an exciting initiative that we hope will lead to Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon becoming a must visit cultural destination as well as the world’s first tidal lagoon. Engaging artists with a major infrastructure project is one of the visions we had for Swansea Bay tidal lagoon when we set out on this journey. To see us take this first step towards that reality is brilliant.”
David Buckland of Cape Farewell says:
“We were delighted with the strength of entries for the Welsh Tidal Lagoon Artist Commission. The range of creativity and vision challenged the panel of judges to choose the four winning entries. The four chosen entries represent the quality of the proposals and also we have tried to reflect on the scale of those entries, from a local community education project to the commissioning of two great artists who work in Wales and a truly excellent choir. Each are now funded £2500.00 to develop their proposals and show how they will inspire engagement with Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon.”
Rachel Jones, Arts & Business Cymru’s Chief Executive said: “Tidal Lagoon Swansea Bay’s genuine and substantial commitment to the arts is truly inspiring. A&B Cymru strongly believes that when business and the arts work together in partnership the results can make both stronger and benefit communities, individuals and the economy in far reaching ways. Tidal Lagoon’s engagement with artists through the commission is the perfect illustration of this. As one of our newest business members, I very much look forward to working with this creative company over the coming months.”
Julie James AM for Swansea West adds:
“This scheme promises a wide variety of potential benefits. Boosting tourism and enriching local culture and identity are just two. It is hugely encouraging to see that the developer has every intention of turning vision into reality in each of these areas. They have my support.”
At 320MW installed capacity, with first power expected in 2018, Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon will be the largest marine energy development in the world. Developed by Tidal Lagoon Power Limited, it will have an entirely predictable 495GWh output each year of clean, green electricity and is estimated that it will power 155,000 homes for 120 years – that’s about 11% of Wales’ domestic use.