by Steve Geliot
On the brink of the Radipole Lake, below the smooth concrete lid of the Swannery road bridge, Apparition is a contemporary artwork that exists in both physical and digital form. Created by the Brighton-based artist Steve Geliot, it links a set of printed panels with your smartphone to play a series of virtual films. Scan the QR code, download the free app, then watch the calm waters of the Backwater transformed into a raging storm, complete with surround sound – it’s best enjoyed with headphones or earbuds.
Based in Brighton, Steve Geliot trained in 3D design and art history, His work is a playful experimentation with materials and technologies and spans sculptures, films, public art and live events.
Please note: Apparition by Steve Geliot (the artwork under the Swannery Bridge) requires a smartphone and scanning a QR code to download a free app. If preferred the app can be downloaded in advance here.
Location: Swannery Car Park – under the bridge DT4 7TY
The Backwater forms part of the estuary of the River Wey, which springs out of the ground at Upwey, just a few kilometres upstream, before opening out into the Radipole Lake, whose name means ‘reedy pool’. It is now an important RSPB bird reserve, and there are good walks from the thatched RSPB building on the other side of the Swannery car park. In the past the estuary was tidal as far as the village of Radipole, which was a popular destination for tourist boats from Weymouth at high tide, but when the tide was out the mud became so smelly because of pollution that, in 1872, a dam was built near the Westham Bridge to keep the water levels up. When the bridge was rebuilt in 1921 a new dam was incorporated into it, and you can see the sluices that control the levels as you cross.
The Swannery road bridge opened in 1987, but it stands on the site of an older railway viaduct, which was built in 1865 and dismantled in 1976. It gets its name from the swans that have made their home on the Backwater since the 19th century, when they started arriving from the famous Abbotsbury Swannery further along the Dorset coast. They became a tourist attraction in their own right, and were fed by Weymouth council on dried peas.
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