World Beach – The Video

UPDATE: The video is now LIVE on YouTube and Vimeo ! Filming a few weeks ago… against the backdrop of the cross channel ferries… I found myself crunching across the open canvas of St Margaret’s Bay on the Kent coast with an equally empty canvas in my head. The frisson of a new place, the unknown, the expectations, coupled with the knowledge that we had just a few hours between the tides to create our story, lent edge to the occasion. The aim: a tight, nuggety distillation describing the World Beach process – an additional support for online dissemination of this project around the globe. The sun shone and the wind blew as the four of us… three from the V&A; Peter the photographer, Kate my co-artist from the on-line team and Mark to buy the ice creams, built up the layers of the film.

St Margaret's Bay

St Margaret’s Bay is almost totally made of stones, mainly flint. Lumps of these hard, bone shaped rocks are continually released from the soft chalk cliffs that back the beach at one end. Kate and I set about getting to know the shore to see what could be discovered of these marks; what would be interesting to work with.

At Work

It can take a time to get your eye in on a new beach, to start to see the individual shapes and colours. Quite independently, we both were drawn to the elongated, sausage roll forms found among the flints. Textured sugar paper white on the outside, enclosing glass-like dark on the inside. Decisive. Collecting as many as we could, we lined them up in anticipation. For the background we utilised one of the small, fine, shingly patches punctuating the coarse texture of the beach, a natural readymade canvas. We filmed and sorted and filmed and agreed to work intuitively, taking it in turns to lay down a freeform line responding to what lay before us.

Trying to finish the piece before the tide came in

Peter gave his all on camera… The tide went out. The tide turned. And with a predator’s stealth, was back upon us before we knew it.

The completed piece

A few minutes to stand back and see what had come from the rhythm of our hands.

The work is erased

Our creativity tolerated for the barest of moments before being swallowed and swept and erased. The merest of memory remaining. The video will be available soon online,The short cut will be on the YouTube and Vimeo initially, then also on and the V&A site itself. There will also be a version for iTunesU in due course. And I’m still holding out for a round-the-world sequel to highlight the stunning creativity pouring in from all continents…