2016 marked 50 years of the National Trust's dedicated programme to care for coast. Currently we look after: White Cliffs of Dover, Giant's Causeway, much of the Llyn coast, and hundreds of well-loved beaches, cliffs, estuaries and islands across England, Wales and Northern Ireland. In 1965, John Betjeman wrote of the many threats to our coast in his poem One & All, from where we derive our title: our relationship with the sea affects us all.
Trust New Art, the Trust's contemporary arts programme, celebrated this deep connection to the sea by working with Sound UK to commission a significant online digital experience conceived and developed with artdocs and The Swarm. Three leading artists Tania Kovats (visual arts), Owen Sheers (poetry), Martyn Ware (sound and music), have worked with award-winning film maker Benjamin Wigley to create an online digital journey through poetry, sound, film, and tide.
Upon arrival you'll be asked to put on headphones and choose an artwork.
If you've selected Tania Kovats, Tide you'll then experience a digital drawing that tracks high tide in real time. In Owen Sheers, On The Sea's Land (Ar-for-dir) you'll be given the choice of experiencing his poetic coastal walk on the Gower from Paviland Cave to Wurm's Head or vice versa. Martyn Ware's, What Does The Sea Say? enables you to mix an audio-visual installation of seaside memories and post-industrial seascapes.
There’s also the option to take a walk with us through a virtual coastal landscape. There are three coastal walks taken from many UK locations, including Brancaster, Dunwich Heathland, Orford Ness, Seaham, Jurassic Coast (the Golden Cap), Sennen (Lands End), Porthgain, Wurms Head and Rhossili (Gower). Each takes approx. 3 – 5 minutes although you can jump to different places by clicking on ‘Where Am I?’ at the top. Along each walk you will discover one of the artworks created by Tania Kovats, Martyn Ware and Owen Sheers, as well as sea vistas and moments from nature where you can stop for a moment, watch and listen.
An exhibition at Somerset House saw the dramatic staging of these digital artworks in the River Rooms located on the Thames from 4 November to 13 December 2015 to launch the project.