An Art Invasion Across Cumbria

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Mark Haywood & Amanda Newall


Romantic Seduction and Power

(Plastic, toy windmills, Sellafield glass scuplture, digital drawings from memory)

OS grid ref: NY387 190 (Ullswater)
Sites on Ullswater and Whitehaven. Site 1 at Wordsworth Point, half way along Ullswater. Site 2 at the Nuclear Decommissioning Agency, Science and Technology Park, Whitehaven CA24 3HU.

The work consists of two parts, one sited in the Lake District National Park and the other on the coast. The first part is an installation of 686 brightly coloured toy windmills (the number of letters in Wordsworth poem I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud). The second part is a set of glass models of Sellafield buildings and drawings of the complex done from memory.

The work arises from the current controversy on the future source of our electricity, which often consists of low level aesthetic debate characterised by tensions between visibility and invisibility. There is an anomaly between the poetic notion of obtaining clean, renewable energy by 'farming the wind' and the proscription of wind turbines in the Lake District National Park, omphalos of English Romanticism. Equally anomalous are the many wind farm pictures on commercial photographers’ web-sites and the frequent description of the turbines as ‘ugly’. However we must assume from their opposition to the railways that Wordsworth and Ruskin would have strongly objected to the turbines. The wind farm debate centres on visibility, whereas nuclear power is characterised by a lack of visibility. Nuclear material and the reactors that contain it are invisible and even the power stations themselves are out of sight from most of the population. This last reason means many opponents of wind farms are also advocates of nuclear power and ally themselves with those post-industrial coastal communities who seek economic benefits from hosting a nuclear power station. Such vast industrial complexes should have a much higher visibility profile than wind farms, but their threshold of visibility remains far lower due to location, security and operational secrecy.

The Nuclear Decommissioning Agency, Whitehaven, will be hosting drinks and an opening event 5.30pm on Monday the 9th of October.

at wordsworth point - by mark haywood

at the Nuclear Decommissioning Agency, Whitehaven, by Amanda Newall


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