New artwork for weather watchers

Weather vane at Cardiff Bay Barrage

WEATHER watchers and art lovers will be able to hear, as well as see, which way the wind is blowing, thanks to a new artwork in Cardiff.

A distinctive weather vane, which will change sound with the wind direction, has been installed on the Harbour Arm of Cardiff Bay Barrage. It is the first in a series of creations made by a research team led by the University of South Wales (USW).

USW’s multi-disciplinary team of specialists is working in partnership with Cardiff Harbour Authority (CHA), Cardiff Council, Philips Lighting and Cardiff Metropolitan University to develop the interactive artworks, which are designed to ensure that any visitor can enjoy them.

An app is being developed to help translate the movement of the vane into sound which will be accessible via mobile technology. The weather vane is the first piece to be installed, to test ideas as the project develops.

Project Director, Professor Alice Entwistle, said: “Our artworks will be able to respond to everyone and anyone who wants to engage with them; it won’t matter how old or mobile they are, or how well they see or hear. With the help of an interactive app, or electronic tags, our artworks will be able to detect and respond to different users and their needs.”

USW visual artist and film lecturer Inga Burrows, who designed the artwork, said: “As a blank canvas, the vast open site of the Barrage is a unique environment; working on it is an amazing privilege for an artist. The weather vane was inspired by our desire to build text into climate sensitised artwork. The sonic vane is the first of several innovative artworks intended to make visiting the Barrage a more inclusive and exciting experience for its many visitors.”

CHA has supported the production of the stainless steel structure, which was made by Pembrokeshire sculptor Gideon Petersen.

Inspired by Virginia Woolf’s 1927 novel To the Lighthouse, (a nod to Flat Holm’s lighthouse, which is only 2.5km from the Barrage), the vane spells out the words ‘So much’… The team say the riddle will be solved when the rest of the installation is in place.

Cardiff City Council Cabinet Member for Culture and Leisure, Cllr Peter Bradbury, said: “Cardiff Bay Barrage is a great day out and hundreds of thousands visit each year to enjoy the play facilities, see the Croc In The Dock or just admire the view. Inclusivity is so important for our green spaces, everyone should be able to enjoy them, and this new interactive public art project will mean that what is already a welcoming space for users with a range of different needs is even more accessible.”

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