Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Dull Olympics arts projects in Swansea

Everytime I hear the word 'Olympics' i just think of the vast amounts of money spent on half baked projects. The latest is the Swansea based Adain Avion arts project which arrived in the city this week. According to their press releases it is a

'mobile arts space, social sculpture and traveling time capsule created from the recycled and transformed fuselage of an abandoned DC9 aeroplane by Spanish sculptor Eduardo Cajal.'

It sounds great until you actually see it. Yes the de-winged plane from the 1960s does look extraordinary, sited outside the Waterfront museum in the city. But the space inside is sooo dull. A perspex floor with 2 plasma monitors below, a dreary poet reading his depressing poems while shuffling his papers and then openly stating 'I don't think I can do an hour of this' to the 10 people who wandered in to see what it was all about. Hanging from the roof was an old blanket to stop the wind whistling through the plane and 2 buckets placed to hold the water from the leaks.

Add a girl doing a half cocked performance with cockles bought from the local market (wearily making a reference to 'cockpit' and 'cockles') She spread them (unshelled) across the floor where everyone was walking and began to eat them. Boring and a health risk too.

Perhaps you would like to join the life drawing session on the plane? er sorry no you can't. It is only by invitation and no mention of how you can get invited.

Swansea Council's cabinet member for regeneration Nick Bradle told the Swansea Evening Post;


"This is a unique project that will raise the profile of the arts in Swansea and allow thousands of people to enjoy top-quality, arts-related events in a week of celebration."

No it won't raise the profile of arts in Swansea. Judging by the performances I have seen, it will only reinforce some peoples view that money should not be going into arts. It is doing a dis-service to the many artists in Swansea already struggling to do some excellent work with little or no funding.

One of the more interesting spectacles are the bespoke air steward uniforms created exclusively by Welsh woollen mill, Melin Tregwynt. However no sign of them around apart from for the photo shoot.Why aren't they welcoming people into the plane?

So how much has been spent on this Cultural Olympiad project?
How about a cool £230,000 plus much more for individual projects within the overall project. Incredible!

Hopefully it will get better over the next few days but I don't hold out much hope. You can check their website but they even managed to screw it up if you use Firefox as a browser. You can't read any of the text because it is shifted so far to the right (as you can see above in the screen grab).

What would you do with £230,000 to be creative with in Wales?

Undercurrents is an award winning alternative news service producing videos of people taking inspiring actions. http://www.undercurrents.org

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