Intervention: Notes from a discussion about the groyne post project

Initial inspirations for the work:

Intervention. When and why did this begin? My personal ease of access to the beach meant that I built an intimate relationship with this particular section of seashore over an extended period of time. At the time I was seeking a connection with the physical world to balance the academic needs of the teaching profession. I feel an enormous sense of purpose and well-being when I spend time on the beach observing and recording the condition of the post-tops.

Ideas explored in Intervention:

  • Environmental impact. Changes in our climate are discussed and predicted but are we ignoring the everyday impact of the weather systems upon the landscape around us? What is man-made is often perceived as a natural landscape. The seashore I see at Bexhill is a man-managed environment disrupted by the forces of the sea.
  • Who started this intervention? Historic intervention has defined the coastal environment we experience. We are now taking responsibility for the complexity of the outcomes of past decisions.
  • Concept of relative time spans. Time spans hint at empirical reasoning – maths and science – measurement. We often have an internal story of a place that is essentially static; a single snapshot which we edit to maintain its credibility. Yet places are systems with multiple and distinct functions providing protection and adaptation of the environment to more closely match our perceived needs. To develop a more appropriate awareness of a system requires multiple, timed, documented, snapshots of the system. Systems are not static, they flow; they are in a process of constant and often complex change.

  • Living on the boundary of the land and sea you can see clearly that our attempts to control the beach are only partially and temporarily successful. The interval between the end of the late winter storms and the mechanical intervention to regrade the beach demonstrates how much the shingle moves. It is a constant challenge to our belief that we have control.

Intervention is a long-term project which began in 2002…

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