Hyperscope is part of a series of artworks situated in North East England that identify how the heritage of certain areas is literally ‘beneath our feet’. The Project highlights the coastal town’s rich industrial heritage drawing strongly on the legacy of its shipbuilding and coal mining past including when the Royal Navy used the Port of Blyth to dock their submarines during World War II. The Hyperscope is set in the newly refurbished Market Place, and appears to rise from its platform, emphasised by the way the light is programmed to rise from bottom to top.
The origin of the work lies in the realisation that a J class submarine, the type based at the harbour during WW2, could fit almost exactly beneath the surface of the market square. The initial proposal took a very literal approach to the idea of a surfacing submarine, whilst developing ideas eventually settled on a periscope that lives above and below ground. Ideas linked to the mine shafts were also referred to.
Developed alongside SLR Consulting and WSP’s scheme for the wider Marketplace, liaison between the lighting suppliers, civils and engineers was paramount, ensuring the relevant suppliers, ducting and cabling was in place at appropriate times in the build. Long standing working relationships with several parties meant this was conducted relatively smoothly, the Artwork being completed on site well in advance of the scheme as a whole. Programming is predominantly prepared offsite then uploaded to the control device (Pharos, or ColorKinetics iPlayer or similar).