Godiva Awakes

Feature in Issue 24-1 | Spring 2012

Rivalling On Landguard Point for one of the busiest and most varied programmes of an Artists Taking the Lead project, Adain Avion is centred around a mobile art space built into the wingless fuselage an old DC-9 airplane. Originally discovered by the Spanish sculptor and designer Eduardo Cajal in 1992, and having served as an art venue in Spain ever since, the plane is being brought over for a Welsh summer that will see it transported to four different locations – Swansea, Ebbw Vale, Llandudno and Llandow. At each it will be dragged into town by a large team of local people gathered from sports clubs, youth groups, community organisations and members of the public, with the ceremony accompanied by an ‘arrival anthem’ specially composed by musician John Hardy.

For the project’s curator Marc Rees, the structure’s former use resonates with the themes of international connection that the Olympics embodies, but by bringing the Adain Avion plane to Wales his aim is to infuse the space with the ‘Welshness of the square mile’, letting it take its character from the rich community and history of each place it rests in.

So in the town of Ebbw Vale a Ghost Parade will commemorate the ten-year anniversary of the closure of the Ebbw Vale Steel Works, an installation and film-screening will draw material from the archives of the British Steel Collection, and Tanja Råman’s piece Cold Rolling will be devised with ten dancers from Ballet Cymru using blueprints of the old Steel Works as an architectural starting-point. In Swansea, Catrin James’ Guerilla Restoration will treat the neglected architectural design features found on many of the city’s post-war buildings, and a temporary installation assembled by Hyde + Hyde architects, The Collective Memory of a City, will reflect on the historic structures of the industrial revolution found in Swansea. In seaside Llandudno, artist Carwyn Evans presents an exhibition of photography and video both inspired by and housed within the empty 50s shelters lining the town’s promenade.

There are many more events besides, with the eclecticism of the programme reflecting Rees’ background as a multidisciplinary artist who’s worked extensively in the past with physical theatre companies like Brith Gof, Earthfall and DV8. Within the line-up, Rees identifies a few pieces of particular interest to Total Theatre: Citrus Arts’ commission to create an aerial piece around the brief of a fateful presidential visit (Adain Avion becoming Air Force One); Portuguese choreographer Fillipa Francisco’s six-week project to work with local dancers in Llandudno to create a Folk Dance Flash Mob; and artist Cai Tomos’ collaboration with the former rink skater Margot Catlin, A Solo for Margot.

All the Adain Avion events will be recorded for the Black Box, a full video documentation of the project that will be available as an unedited archive, but which will also be shaped into a short film that will screen on monitors placed under the glass floor of the fuselage when the plane touches down at the National Eisteddfod of Wales in Llandow, its final destination, in early August 2012.

The Adain Avion art space will be in Swansea 24-30 June, Ebbw Vale 1-7 July, Llandudno 8-14 July, and Llandow, for the National Eisteddfod of Wales, 4-11 August 2012. The project is the Artists Taking the Lead commission for Wales. www.adainavion.org

This article in the magazine

Issue 24-1
p. 14