Steamy artwork prompts fire panic at Nottingham Contemporary

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Media captionThe venue has assured the public the steam is harmless

An art installation that pumps clouds of steam from a gallery's roof has led to people calling 999 to report the building is on fire.

Thinking Head, by Italian artist Lara Favaretto, has caused confusion during test runs at Nottingham Contemporary ahead of its opening this weekend.

The venue said it had put posters up around the area reassuring people the cloud was not the result of fire.

But the fire service said it was still getting calls from concerned people.

During the installation's run, water vapour is being released from the gallery roof in varying amounts to reflect "the intensity of the thinking happening inside".

At its most intense, the steam sinks to the ground, enveloping a road running past the venue.

Image caption The installation has been tested several times ahead of its official opening

Sam Thorne, director of Nottingham Contemporary, said: "It's not a worry at all because it's harmless water vapour.

"We've been working very closely with all of our neighbours, the city council, the fire service too.

"We've been putting lots of adverts out so I think everybody understands this is about producing a cloud of harmless water vapour that's really signifying all the ideas happening in the building.

"It's a public artwork and public artworks are always unpredictable."

Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service said it had received "numerous calls" from worried passers-by and was talking to the gallery every day to ensure all is well.

It added all callers reporting smoke in the area were "rigorously questioned" to rule out a real fire.

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