Power Plant 2005-17

Power Plant is a sound and light art experience which has won critical acclaim in major festivals around the world.

Mark Anderson was originally commisioned by Oxford Contemporary Music to make/curate a show for University of Oxford Botanical gardens in 2005. Working with four other artists  Anne Bean, Jony Easterby, Ulf PedersenKirsten Reynolds  and three guest artists Ray Lee with a version of the award-winning Siren, Bruce Gilchrist and the late renowned percussionist Z'ev playing Spinning Gongs, together they created Power Plant. It has since become a sellout success in the UK and internationally, with well over thirty remarkable site-specific installations which transform public parks and botanical gardens into magical nocturnal environments.

Power Plant presents a rare opportunity for large audiences to experience a fascinating world where art and nature are intriguingly integrated. Walking at their own pace, each visitor, moves along a route through the night-time garden experiencing a series of sometimes intimate and sometimes vast art works that emerge from the natural surroundings creating strange, thoughtful, intoxicating atmospheres in sound and light. Glances into the distance offer alluring vistas where tantalizing glimpses of flashing and flickering colour appear from the verdant surroundings accompanied by enthralling traces of otherworldly sounds.

Wherever Power Plant takes place it attracts huge audiences from a broad and culturally diverse cross section of the public, it appeals to young and old alike tapping into peoples primitive/natural sense of wonder and curiosity at the visual and sonic world around them. Power Plant is carefully orchestrated to achieve maximum effect from the least amount of intervention. As one younger member of the public put it, “Power Plant is a banging show, except that it bangs in your mind and not in the show”.

Power Plant was originally commissioned by Oxford Contemporary Music for University of Oxford Botanic Garden in 2005, where it was a sellout success, it went on to sell-out at the Sydney Festival, Australia in January 2011 attracting almost 20,000 people over ten days. The stunning, yet thoughtful, interventions within the historic Kunming Walled City Garden made Power Plant one of the most striking and important events during the Hong Kong Arts Festival in February 2011 selling out its 20,000 audience capacity in advance of the show opening. Power Plant was also one of the most spectacular and popular successes of Hobart’s international Ten Days on the Island Festival In March 2011 when it transformed the beautiful and majestic Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens. Since then Power Plant has has been a major succes at the Wellington Festival in 2013, and most recently in 2017 at the Aukland Festival.

These high-profile events follow similar unique, prestigious shows at major cultural festivals in the UK. Power Plant was the hit of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2009 with audiences of 7000 people and full page coverage in national media. In 2008, Power Plant was part of the Liverpool 08 European Capital of Culture, being described by Robert Sandall in the Sunday Times as “A huge success… Power Plant’s ingeniously playful array of electronic stunts, kinetic sculptures and musical sound effects sprang a series of delightful surprises.”  

Power Plant's most recent outing was in 2017, at the Aukland Festival in the oldest park The Domaine, For this show Mark Anderson created two new installations, and the team was joined by guest artist Phil Dadson, Sonicfromscratch who created a new audio piece for the show. Despite being hit by a massive tropical storm just after opening, which nearly destroyed much of the work, and closed the show for two nights, the show ran on to become a huge success.

One of the installations 'Pyrophones' has always featured in the Power Plant, but also in many other festivals and locations