Longing to make artwork about the sea and the place where water meets the edge of land is not an unusual ambition for an artist or filmmaker. Perhaps it's because we live on an island with the sea surrounding us on all sides, or the fact I went to the seaside most birthdays as a child, but I have always felt in awe of the sea's seemingly infinite expanse. It encourages me to think about existence and a reference for one's own place in time. It is a place where you can think of nothing or everything in one thought.

My coastal journey began a few years ago where I started to develop a number of projects around the subject of the sea, which began to gain momentum when I talked to Tom Freshwater from Trust New Art. He mentioned there was the 50th anniversary of the Neptune Coastline Campaign in 2015. Tom brought on board experienced producers SoundUK and I brought on board the fantastic digital producers the Swarm as the team that would bring this ambitious digital project to life. The project finally reached production in May 2015.

Tom always said that he wanted to commission an exhibition where the actual artwork existed online to reach as wide an audience as possible, rather than choosing individual places to host physical works of art. So the online project idea was born. He wanted to commission three artists and it was established that a poet, a sound artist and a visual artist would be most complimentary to a collaboration between myself and the Swarm. I would then work with the artists to visualise their final works. I have been influenced by the work of the National Film Boards of Canada Interactive for some time now, and using inspiration from a number of projects I had seen in the past, I proposed a virtual coastal walk made up from real coastal locations. At the end of each walk the user would come across an artist's commission. Three quality artists were selected, visual artist Tania Kovats, soundscape artist and musician Martyn Ware, and poet Owen Sheers. I created a mood trailer/sketch using many layers of imagery including 16mmm hand processed, HD, digital stills and experimental audio recordings from previous projects, so the artists could see the creative approach I would make, and whether they wanted to use that approach. They did, which meant I had my work cut out for me. My role was to produce the audio-visual content and the narrative for the immersive journey online, to create the film and sound for Owen's poem, to create the visual content for Martyn's beautiful soundscape, to produce the making of documentaries for each artist, while the Swarm built Tania Kovats digital drawing mapping the tide around the UK coastline. For the exhibition at Somerset House I would make a film for Tania and then create the all projections for each room.

I realised from our Kickstarter campaign with my feature film Paa Joe and the Lion, the importance of having an event in the real world that brings people to an online digital space. Tom suggested a real world exhibition of the artwork at Somerset House. Tom brought on board the exhibition designers Andres Ros Soto and Michael Montgomery and while I began my tour of some of England and Wales most beautiful coastlines, from Seaham to Land’s End, from Worms Head to the Golden Cap.


This has been an ambitious project from the outset, primarily because of the way the artwork has been created. It has been experimental, using ideas that had only been tested through the language of filmmaking, then trying to make those ideas work within an interactive or immersive voyage.

The audio-visual aesthetic of how a user would experience the walk was born on a previous project. I was asked to create a map to show how far someone would have to walk to see a specific artwork. I didn't want to show a graphic of a map in the film, so I took a series of photographs walking around the landscape and discovered it made a very interesting and hyper-real visual aesthetic. I was keen to create a walk that was not just a replication of the real world. I was interested in creating an augmented or beautified reality that would make people have an unusual sense of time and space. These coastal walks would be made up of a combination of these real land and seascapes from around the country. Along their journey, they would be able to stop for a moment or meditate at an incredible seascape or witness a moment of natural beauty. I captured most of the sound with binaural sound recordings, along with some hydrophone and shotgun microphones, so I literally put microphones in my ears to capture a three-dimensional sound space. So when a person wears their headphones online, they can listen to an accurate spatial representation of the sound. You can hear my footsteps, sometimes my breathing, adding to a sense that you are immersed within my view, taking a journey through my footsteps around this dreamlike coastal landscape. That idea developed further with the use of GoPro imagery and sound diving into the water.

It is an ambitious project not only because of the way the artwork has been created, with a number of challenging techniques and using ideas as yet untested. But also because it contains a large volume of content, probably much more than what people are used to experiencing online. When creating the content it felt like editing a feature film but it was also like one huge experiment — exploring film hand processing, digital and creative sound techniques, alongside the digital programming mechanics that was developed through the Swarm. So I hope people will take their time, to explore the depth of beautiful artwork that is available to them and return, because there are many incredibly beautiful experiences waiting for people to immersive themselves in.

Exhibition at Somerset House
As part of the project launch there is the physical exhibition at Somerset House from 4th November to 13 December 2015. A world class venue that will house beautiful large scale projections and soundscapes of all of the artists’ work that will be featured online accompanied by a poetic film made when Tania brought Ore and Ingot, a traveling forge, to Porthcurno beach (near Land’s End) to cast a bronze tidal bell in the sand, which is part of her exhibition. The central space will house a huge projection made up of all the meditative vistas that I shot along my journey, which can be seen along the walks within the digital project, and a screen for showing the making of documentary films.

Over the summer I travelled to a plethora of beautiful, industrial and distinctive coastal locations, some of the most beautiful places in the country, capturing sound and visuals. It allowed me to explore many different filmmaking techniques and my artistic practice. It has been a privilege to work with fantastically talented artists and designers. I hope you enjoy the project and take your time to explore.