SEE MONSTER is a retired rig from the North Sea, transformed into one of the UK’s largest free public art installations by NEWSUBSTANCE to inspire global conversations about reuse, renewables, and the great British weather. SEE MONSTER was located in Weston-super-Mare, UK from July to November 2022.
SEE MONSTER is part of UNBOXED: Creativity in the UK, a once-in-a-lifetime celebration of creativity which took place across England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales and online from March to November 2022.
To showcase UK creativity, UNBOXED commissioned ten large-scale public engagement projects, of which SEE MONSTER was one.
SEE MONSTER is part of UNBOXED: Creativity in the UK, a once-in-a-lifetime celebration of creativity taking place across England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales and online from March to November 2022.
To showcase UK creativity, UNBOXED has commissioned ten awe-inspiring large-scale public engagement projects, of which SEE MONSTER is one.
SEE MONSTER was brought to life by Leeds-based creative studio NEWSUBSTANCE in collaboration with Dose of Society, REDHOUSE, Rocket Women, Empowering Women with Tech, kinetic sculptor Ivan Black and representatives from The British Antarctic Survey and was supported by North Somerset Council. SEE MONSTER was part of UNBOXED: Creativity in the UK.
SEE MONSTER was free and open to all. Visitors experienced the art installation from the seafront, beach, Viewing Deck, on board and online. It featured four publicly accessible levels animated by a 10-metre-high waterfall; a 6,000-piece kinetic installation forming the monster’s shimmering scales; an on-board oasis of grasses, plants and trees selected to thrive in a seaside micro-climate; and a seated amphitheatre and broadcast studio, forming a platform for conversations about reuse and sustainable futures.
SEE MONSTER closed on Sunday 20 November 2022.
UNBOXED: Creativity in the UK was funded and supported by the four governments of the UK, co-commissioned with Belfast City Council, Creative Wales and EventScotland.
Costs for each commission are not being disclosed by UNBOXED at this time.
The platform itself will continue its decommissioning journey, where 98-100% of its steelwork will be recycled in the UK.
The plants and trees from SEE MONSTER will be donated to the council to be showcased in parks and public spaces, and you may see other elements from the monster around the local area. This is to ensure SEE MONSTER’s legacy continues, even after the physical structure has gone.
The dismantlement will start at the end of November 2022 and aims to be finished by the end of January 2023.
SEE MONSTER as part of UNBOXED: Creativity in the UK, was designed, funded and resourced as a temporary art installation.
During the dismantlement phase, in the interest of safety, dogs are not permitted on the section of beach between The Grand Pier and Royal Sands, from 21 November 2022 to 30 January 2023, from 7am – 8pm.
The Local Community
Hosting SEE MONSTER in Weston-super-Mare provided potential, immediate and longer term, economic and social benefits to the community and town, and its seafront offered an ideal physical infrastructure to land and host the installation.
SEE MONSTER has positively impacted the local economy, A full impact report is due to be released by February 2023. This impact includes new local job opportunities, increased demand for accommodation, and higher footfall to restaurants, pubs, shops, cafes, and surrounding attractions.
Think Tank is a local initiative set-up by NEWSUBSTANCE and DOSE of Society for SEE MONSTER. The initiative provided a forum for individuals and local businesses to put forward ideas for experiences which might be showcased on the monster, or in the surrounding town. This cultural hub will continue the vital dialogue about our future that SEE MONSTER has initiated, including the Think Tank Facebook group.
Learning and Education
Through it themes and ideas surrounding reuse, renewables and climate, SEE MONSTER aims to educate and inspire the public, encouraging visitors, through their experience of the art installation, to consider future opportunities within the Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) sector.
A series of educational resources for primary, secondary, SEND and FE students have been created to be used in the classroom, and will continue to be available online via the website. This includes career talks from local business and SEE MONSTER collaborators, as well as education packs for classrooms, and talks from the Natural History Museum takeover.
Our dedicated Education and Learning page is now live on our website here.
Yes. Throughout this project UNBOXED and NEWSUBSTANCE have worked closely with industry leaders within the sustainability sector.
Owners of oil and gas platforms and pipelines are required to decommission their infrastructure at the end of a field’s economic life. NEWSUBSTANCE worked with a climate advisor and consultants in the energy sector to identify a platform earmarked for decommissioning.
The rig owners made the base steel structure of the decommissioned platform available for re-use as SEE MONSTER. This steel was purchased by UNBOXED at market value and will be recycled at the end of the SEE MONSTER installation.
While visitors may not be able to onboard SEE MONSTER, there are many ways to experience it.
As part of SEE MONSTER’s legacy, a variety of free STEAM resources are available on our website, including career talks from local businesspeople and SEE MONSTER collaborators. Resources from the Land Art Generator Initiative are accessible, inspiring young minds to design their own clean energy-generating artwork.
SEE MONSTER’s 360 Virtual Tour, the full Audio Tour, and “Weathering Together”, an immersive audio experience by sound artist Joseff Harris are also available to all.
SEE MONSTER may have closed, but its legacy lives on.
This world-first art installation is a blueprint for change, inspiring how we think about the reuse of disused structures and harness the weather to create design-led renewables that can be integrated into urban environments and community spaces. As a creation of new from old, the regeneration of the rig, transformed from its former life, is a model for reuse and creativity for our future.
Its legacy will be marked both by the experiences of those who have visited and continue to experience SEE MONSTER and by its online digital resources, which will continue to provide valuable learning and engagement opportunities to a wide, global audience.
As an accessible and large-scale art and cultural project, SEE MONSTER has contributed to successful placemaking, positively impacting the economy of a coastal town and positively engaging its community.
The plants and trees grown on SEE MONSTER will be given to the council to create a new green space for the town which has been designed by the council parks team.