Ever since Antony Gormley's magnificent Angel of the North was unveiled at Gateshead 12 years ago, Britain has been teeming with projects to aggrandise and revive local areas with gigantic sculptures and installations. There are plans for a mammoth horse in the south-east, a naked woman to be carved into the Northumberland landscape, a scheme to erect a 62ft Celtic cross in Cornwall and a landmark sculpture at Gretna to symbolise the gateway to Scotland.
And now we have Anish Kapoor and Cecil Balmond's 164ft high and 360ft long metal installation at Middlesbrough, the first of five artworks planned for the Tees Valley. Looking like a twisted tube, the "sock", as some have dubbed it, and "Temenos", as it has been officially called (after the Greek word meaning "sacred enclosure"), is intended as a magnet for visitors and renaissance of a blighted region.
It's easy enough to make fun of the scale, the title of the peice, and the pomposity of some of the interpretations of its symbolism. They don't go in for all that pretension, up north. But they do like the big, the brash and the ambitious. The Tees Valley Giants, if completed, will form the biggest public art project in the world. If that doesn't put the region firmly on Google Earth, nothing will.