A 'weather conjuror', Japanese artist Fujiko Nakaya, has created a Fog Bridge across Bristol's harbourside to celebrate the city's status as European Green Capital 2015.
For 10 days, from today until Sunday 22 February, Pero’s Bridge in Bristol Harbourside will disappear behind a changing veil of fog to invite visitors to consider the changing climate and how it might disrupt our lives.
Over 40 years, Nakaya has used fog as a sculptural medium. Collaborating with the elements, her clouds are created by water pumped at high pressure through many micro-fine nozzles to create immersive and contemplative experiences for audiences.
The bridge, which was completed in November 1999 and is three metres wide, provides a key route for pedestrians, with easy gradients for the disabled. The design of all elements and the choice of material were developed to fit the context of the structure at the heart of the harbour. It incorporates two huge, horn-shaped counterweights on the central lifting span that are an example of cross-industry collaboration, having been fabricated and erected by Bristol-based David Abels Boatbuilders.??
All engineering for the bridge was managed by Arup as well as coordination with the artist, assistance with planning procedures, the public exhibition, the submission to the Royal Fine Art commission and extensive advice during commissioning and throughout construction. Working with an artist was an unusual experience: - Arup’s lead engineer and the artist worked together on a one-to-one basis to develop the full concept for the design. The artist made a 3-dimensional model made with metal and Arup developed this with full engineering drawings and specifications.?
Nakaya’s pioneering fog works have been commissioned for public spaces around the world, including Tokyo, San Francisco and New York City. Fog Bridge in Bristol is the first time the artist has presented an artwork in the UK.
Fujiko Nakaya explains: “The function of a bridge is usually very simple, to cross over to the other side. I like its functional simplicity, but it can hold a cloud and suspend it too. During the 10 days of festival, a bundle of fog will be perching on the bridge and performing with the wind.”
“Walking inside fog, people are suddenly confronted with white darkness, but soon they find themselves trying to use all the senses other than the visual to orient themselves. People love the feel of fog, It’s a primary experience.”
Dr Anna Rutherford, Executive Director of In Between Time, says: “In the year of the European Green Capital, Fog Bridge allows us all to think more widely about climate disruption, and on a smaller scale, the artist’s own working methods, her collaboration with the elements, water and wind currents, is a reminder of our own need to collaborate more with the natural environment.”
Bristol’s Fog Bridge is a UK Premiere, and is presented by In Between Time in association with Bristol 2015, European Green Capital. It is supported by Watershed and the Cabot Institute, University of Bristol.
> Fog Bridge, Friday 13th to Sunday 22nd February, Peros’ Bridge, Bristol Harbourside, Regular Intervals from 8am each day, Free. www.ibt15.co.uk