Anthony McCall column cloud
MERSEYSIDE’S £500,000 Cultural Olympiad legacy project Column has been delayed until next year.
Technical problems have prevented New York-based artist Anthony McCall’s three mile-high spiral of cloud from rising above the Wirral waterfront.
Column was initially due to be installed at Birkenhead’s East Float early this year but suffered major setbacks when planning permission was held up by Civil Aviation Authority fears about the impact on flights.
Testing, delayed by restricted access to the site until after planning permission was granted on May 31, started in September.
However, the project team had underestimated the speed of winds at East Float, which have been blowing away the rising steam before it reaches a solid shape.
The team had hoped the cylinder of cloud would be visible from this month but due to further technical adjustments have postponed the art work until early next year.
McCall said: “"I am grateful to Arts Council England for their continuing trust and support, especially during the unexpectedly attenuated process of winning the approval of numerous regulatory agencies.
“Fortunately, since passing those tests, my colleagues and I have been able to focus exclusively on refining the piece itself. Our aim, as before, is to produce a slim, vertical column of cloud that will rise, spinning, into the Merseyside sky.”
Moira Sinclair, executive director London of Arts Council England, which has been managing the project as part of the UK’s Cultural Olympiad, said: “Although the delays to its delivery are disappointing, the Arts Council is absolutely committed to enabling artists to take risks because that’s when great art often happens.
“The Column team has made a lot of progress during this final testing phase. By allowing them the extra time they need we hope to see Column realised in 2013, as a world-first, and for the people of Merseyside and beyond to experience and enjoy.”
McCall’s idea was chosen from more than 2,000 submissions. Column beat five other short-listed projects – an international language festival, a bandstand built entirely from brass and placed in Birkenhead Park, an epic visual narrative and an event plotting the history of radio.