Under the visionary curatorship of Welsh artist Marc Rees, a mobile arts space created from the transformed body of a DC-9 aeroplane – Adain Avion - will travel across Wales this summer igniting the imagination of the nation for the London 2012 Festival. The London 2012 Festival is a 12-week nationwide celebration running from today, 21 June until 9 September 2012 bringing together leading artists from across the world with the very best from the UK.
The plane will 'nest' in Swansea, Ebbw Vale and Llandudno, between 24 June and 14 July, for three weeks of extraordinary cultural activities reflecting the distinctive history and culture of each area. Adain Avion is one of twelve public art commissions created for Artists taking the lead, the UK Arts Councils' flagship project for the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad.
Marc Rees, whose recent work includes the acclaimed site-specific project For Mountain, Sand & Sea for National Theatre Wales, is one of Wales' leading performance and installation artists with an established track record of delivering groundbreaking, provocative and risk-taking work. For Adain Avion, he brings together leading artists from around the globe including Welsh writer Owen Sheers, Swiss choreographer Philippe Saire, Portuguese choreographer Filipa Francisco, Welsh visual artists Owen Griffiths, Stefhan Caddick and Carwyn Evans, Austrian choreographer Willi Dorner, Finnish choreographer Tanja Råman, BAFTA-winning Welsh composer John Hardy and Welsh choreographer Cai Tomos to collaborate with local people for performances, installations, workshops and events at each nesting destination. So far, over 2,000 participants, 50 artists and 65 community groups are involved in the project (the latter includes scout groups, rugby clubs, male voice choirs, brass bands, gymnastic, sailing and book clubs, buskers, harpists and knitting groups).
On arrival in Swansea and Llandudno, the plane will be pulled into place by a team of people gathered from local sports clubs. In Ebbw Vale, it will arrive as part of a large scale nocturnal procession - Ghost Parade. Each destination will then be bombarded with a week of cultural activity. For event highlights see below. All activities will be filmed and stored in the plane's 'black box' recorder and revealed to thousands of visitors at the National Eisteddfod of Wales in Llandow (4 – 11 August). Then, as the Olympic Games draw to a close on 12 August, the fuselage will begin its journey home to Spain after depositing the 'black box' at St. Fagans National History Museum where it will form an important contemporary folk archive; an eclectic collective memory to represent the uniqueness of Wales in 2012.
'Avion' was originally discovered and transformed from the wreck of an abandoned aeroplane by Spanish sculptor Eduardo Cajal, who wanted to recycle the fuselage to create a vehicle for cultural and artistic exchange. As Wales' winner of the £230,000 Artist Taking the Lead commission, Rees will bring this extraordinary object from its home in northern Spain to Wales. Throughout the summer of 2012, Adain Avion will serve as a mobile arts space, social sculpture and travelling time capsule, creating a succession of unique snapshots of Welsh culture.
Adain Avion highlights include:
SWANSEA: 24 - 30 June 2012
Outside the National Waterfront Museum, SA1 SRD
Arrival Procession, Sunday 24 June (4pm)
The plane will be pulled into place by members of the Ospreys rugby team. The procession will begin in front of Wales' oldest museum institution, Swansea Museum and end at Wales' latest purpose built one, The National Waterfront Museum.
Artist Owen Griffiths is transforming a section of The Vetch (the iconic former home of Swansea City AFC) into an urban utopia. Working with members of the local community, he is creating temporary fruit and vegetable patches over one growing season, transforming the pitch, which if still standing would have celebrated its centenary this year, into edible land. This social artwork will culminate in a flower and produce show held around Adain Avion's nesting site (4pm – 6pm, Friday 29 June) followed by a harvest supper for local residents aboard the plane (7pm, Friday 29 June). www.vetchveg.tumblr.com
Phillippe Saire Residency, Saturday 30 June (11.30am & 3.15pm)
As part of Taliesin's Dance Day Festival, Swiss choreographer Phillippe Saire takes up residence at Victoria Park to devise a brand new live choreography entitled Jack with eight of Swansea Bowling Club's oldest and youngest members. Saire's 25-year choreographic career has seen over a thousand performances of his multi-disciplinary creations all over the world. www.philippesaire.ch
Willi Dorner: Bodies in Urban Spaces, Friday 29, Saturday 30 June (12.30pm & 4pm)
Professional Welsh dancers perform with local free runners, gymnasts, climbers and martial artists for the Welsh premiere of this world-renowned work by Austrian artist Willi Dorner. Also part of Taliesin's Dance Day festival, Bodies in Urban Spaces is a performing trail which leads through unseen and re-discovered spaces, encouraging audiences to reflect on their urban surroundings. As bodies are temporarily squeezed, arranged, balanced and rearranged along the route, the rules and restrictions of our urban environment are explored and perceived in a unique way – on the run. www.ciewdorner.at
Guerilla Restoration, Monday 25 (3.30pm – 5.30pm)
Artist Catrin James will carry out Guerilla Restoration on neglected architectural design features found on many of the post-war buildings in Swansea. She will document and present her urban refurbishing through a video installation that will be shown aboard the plane. Guerilla Restoration will reveal the mid-century splendour hidden beneath the rust and the dust of Swansea's town centre.
Blanket coverage: Welsh Tapestry and Tupperware tea party, Sunday 1 July (12midday- 2.30pmTo commemorate the centenary of Melin Tregwynt woollen mill in Pembrokeshire, Adain Avion will invite the people of Swansea and beyond to bring their own retro Welsh tapestry blankets and packed Tupperware for a communal picnic around the plane. The fuselage will be completely covered in a specially-created blanket made from a re-imagined design, based on Melin Tregwynt's signature Madison. Blanket Coverage is Adain Avion's unique take on the iconic artwork by Christo who famously covered the Reichstag in Berlin with silver fabric, transforming it into a social sculpture and immensely popular gathering point.