What is the See Monster? The old North Sea oil rig that's arrived in Weston-super-Mare

  • Watch Marina Jenkins' report

A decommissioned oil rig once used in the North Sea has arrived in Weston-super-Mare where it is set to become one of the UK's largest public art installations.

People flocked to the seafront today (13 July) to see the arrival of the gigantic steel structure which will from the skeleton of a new art piece called 'See Monster'.

The people behind the project, which is a world first, say they hope to inspire global conversations about the repurposing of large industrial structures.

What is the See Monster?

An impression of what the huge art installation will look like when it is completed Credit: Newsubstances

The See Monster is a decommissioned oil rig which was used in the North Sea for 30 years and spent the past 12 months in a Dutch shipyard being stripped, cleaned and repaired.

It is the brainchild of Leeds-based design and events company Newsubstance and is now set to become the UK's biggest art installation in Weston-super-Mare.

Once the installation is completed in August, people will be able to go on board the See Monster.

The free exhibition will feature four levels which will include a seated amphitheatre and a broadcast studio. The entire installation will be covered in grasses, plants and trees as well as shimmering 'monster' scales lit up by an animation of a waterfall standing at 10m high.

  • Watch the See Monster arrive in Weston-super-Mare

Creative director and founder of Newsubstance, Patrick O'Mahony, said the idea was to find a platform “to tell stories with”.

He said: "The platforms exist for years and years and then they just come to the end of their lives.

"We kind of said 'wouldn't it be amazing... do you think we could get an old rig and reimagine it?'.

"It spends its life taking away from the Earth and could we reimagine it, rehabilitate it and use it as literally a platform to tell new stories."

The decommissioned North Sea rig will become 'See Monster
The 450-tonne platform will be transported on a flatbed barge as large as a football pitch to its new home at the Tropicana

When will the See Monster be opening in Weston-super-Mare and where is it?

The See Monster is now at the Tropicana on Weston-super-Mare seafront - but it is not open to the public yet.

There is still work to do transforming it into the final installation before a phased opening begins over the August bank holiday. It will close at the end of October.

It is not the first time the old swimming pool has played host to an art installation, having been the setting for Banksy's Dismaland in 2015.