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Cooling Towers

Cooling Towers have been the public iconic face of energy generation for a long time. I see them as large sculptures in a landscape that can manufacture clouds. They are often, wrongly, seen as the source of acid rain, which in fact is produced by the large chimney next to them. They are also signifiers for the source of power and appear in my early drawings of infrastructures. 

Since 1989 I have summited proposals to use cooling towers for large temporary installations to many different organisations and sites.

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The first pair that I investigated in 1989, were the cooling towers of the disused power station at Tinsley Viaduct near Sheffield. I have included some of the images from the original proposal.

 

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In 1995 I succeed with the help of Thompson Design in producing a static installation for one night at Skelton Grange power station in Leeds, titled Power Source. The power station was disused and was about to be dismantled. 

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In 2006 Commissions North commissioned me, to prepare a proposal for 2 cooling towers in Middlesbrough and this time I had an animation made as part of the proposal with the help of Thompson Brand Partners.

My proposal was to create a piece of work that acknowledged that the towers are the public face of the generation of electrical power. I proposed to achieve this by placing up to 40 lights equally distanced around the base of each  tower which would project lines of light up the sides. These light sources in turn would be controlled by a DMX sequencer, which would turn each light on and off independently. Various sequences would give the impression of movement forming a relationship with the internal working of the plant i.e. generators. There could almost be an infinite number of sequences, which would be created by forming relationships with local communities and audiences.