Technical difficulties have temporarily halted the Mirrie Dancers public art installation at the Tingwall Glass Houses over the Christmas period.
Project co-ordinator Kathy Hubbard, Shetland Arts’ development manager, said that this, the fifth out of 10 planned illuminations over the winter, had been a bit jinxed: “First of all we had the very unusual situation of having no wind for nearly six days – not something you expect in Shetland in the middle of December. The illuminations are powered by wind turbines, so the batteries had to be topped up with generators.
“Just before Christmas a member of our installation team noticed that one of the batteries did not appear to be replenishing itself, even when there was wind. He discovered that one of the control boxes had virtually burnt out so he shut down the installation as a health and safety precaution.”
The engineer who designed the equipment is currently working on finding out what happened and devising a way of putting it right.
Mrs Hubbard said that Shetland Arts wished to apologise to anyone who had made a special trip over the holidays to see the lights and had been disappointed.
“By the time we were compelled to turn the lights off it was too late to get a notice in to The Shetland Times, or to alter our advert. BBC Radio Shetland did manage to get a notice in on their last programme before closing for Christmas, but I am aware that people will have been expecting to see the lights and will be wondering what has happened.”
Artist Nayan Kulkarni is flying up to Shetland and will do his best to get the lights working again. He may not immediately be able to fix the damaged piece of equipment but will work with the second turbine to see if at least part of the illumination can be resumed.
The Glass Houses illuminations are due to run until 11th January, after which Mirrie Dancers moves to the top of Ander Hill, Bressay, and to the Reawick Congregational Church. In February the illuminations are planned for the Böd of Nesbister and the Garthsness Listening Station, before both turbines and sets of lights move finally to Snarravoe in Unst.
Mrs Hubbard said that the project was always going to be a challenging one, but that the team would do all it could to “get the show on the road again”.