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~Flow, Arts Council England's north east Artists taking the lead commission is open to the public

  • Date: 5 April 2012
  • Area: North

~Flow. Credit: Jill Tate

After three years in the making, ~Flow by Owl Project and Ed Carter, opened to over 1700 visitors on Sunday 25 March, with a day full of events and activities. Moored on the Newcastle Quayside, it will now be open and free to board until September 2012.

The project is Arts Council's north east Artists taking the lead commission - one of a series of twelve landmark public art projects funded by the UK Arts Councils as part of the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad.  The Cultural Olympiad is a celebration of the best of British arts and culture alongside the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

~Flow is a tidemill, and uses a huge waterwheel to draw energy from the river Tyne's current to power the mechanical musical instruments on board. The handcrafted instruments inside the millhouse respond to the changing nature of the river, creating different sounds over the course of the tidal cycle. Visitors can also interact with the instruments, affecting the music they create.

Ed Carter, project lead for ~Flow, said: 'After three years in development, we are absolutely delighted with the public response to ~Flow and the opening programme. We were thrilled to get so much positive feedback, and are excited to see how audiences react to the project over the coming months.'

Nicholas Baumfield, Senior Manager, Arts Council England, said: 'It fills me with great pride to see ~Flow finally open to the public. The number of people that turned out to board the artwork and take part in events on its first day is brilliant. It not only shows the time and effort the talented ~Flow team have put into the project has paid off, but it also stands testament to the people of the north east, and their curiosity for and willingness to explore something new.'

The ~Flow team

~Flow is a collaboration between Owl Project (artistic lead) and Ed Carter (project lead and original concept).

Owl Project is a collaborative group of artists consisting of Simon Blackmore, Antony Hall and Steve Symons. They work with wood and electronics to fuse sculpture and sound art, creating music making machines, interfaces and objects which intermix pre-steam and digital technologies. 

Ed Carter is a Gateshead based music and arts producer who has a focus on technology and process. He is Director of Modular, specialists in devising and producing large-scale, interdisciplinary art projects. Ed also releases music as Winter North Atlantic.

To find out more about the rest of the team behind the project, click here.

To watch a time-lapse video of ~Flow being built on the Northumberland coast by the Amble Boat Company, click here.

Events Programme 

A full programme of events has been planned around ~Flow, from art workshops for children, to exclusive musical performances onboard. Most of the events are free, and more will be added to the programme in the coming months. For up to date information about the programme click here.

Tom Higham and Beth Bate have curated and produced the programme. Tom said: 'We want to engage as many people as possible with ~Flow, so we've put together a packed programme of events, workshops, commissions and performances throughout ~Flow's stay on the Tyne. ~Flow will feature in a number of annual festivals and events NewcastleGateshead plays host to, like The Late Shows in May, Evolution Music Festival in June and EAT! Festival in July.'

An education programme has also been planned with cultural venues surrounding the NewcastleGateshead Quayside, including The Sage Gateshead, BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art and Seven Stories, the Centre for Children's Books.

Opening times and getting there 

~Flow is moored on the north shore of the river Tyne in the heart of NewcastleGateshead, directly opposite BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art and next to the Gateshead Millennium Bridge.

~Flow is free to board and open to all, 11am - 5pm, Wednesdays - Sundays, until Sunday 16 September 2012.

For more information about ~Flow you can visit its website, follow the team on Twitter and like its page on Facebook.