Posted by Gabrielle, Megan and Susie
We gaze through a dirty pane of glass at the taxidermy display in the Visitor Centre. “What is that?”
“It’s a hoopoe.”
Try again, try not to try. See with a beginner’s mind.
It’s Friday 11th March 2016: our first exploratory day together at Dawlish Warren.
Equipped with a few lightly held ideas carefully poised to slip and some gently held equipment – camcorder, cameras, pen and paper, megaphone, dictaphone, spray cream, latex, pencils and paper…
We look for clues: in the beach resort, in the nature reserve and in the buffer zone between them.
Tainted Love – Dumbo – Extraction unit – Perfect for perching – Incongruous things (in trees) – Out of reach – Doubling back – Calling – Nature tables – magpie perspective, tongue-in-cheek – Amalgam and assemblage – Monstrous – Synthetic whelk eggs – Trembling – Anonymous – Feasting…
Feasting: empty shells on the grass where birds have been feeding; cockle-shaped holes in the sand where herring gulls have been digging.
We ate homemade brownies.
Encountered amongst other things, one Ranger called Steve, one skylark —didn’t catch your name — a flying ring toy named ‘Astonishing’
“Throw only to an alert catcher.”
Influenced by the site and each other, we veer away from individual plans and begin to generate work in a process of live, spontaneous, collaborative activations.
…energies coming together and eyeing each other up…
Reminding us to always leave room for slippage – of meaning, of intention, of outcome.
We ask, what can we do together that we can’t do alone?
We take away pieces of beach debris (plastic bottles, fishing line, burnt polystyrene, tiny plastic sticks) to reconfigure another day.
Reconfigure another day.
Megan forgets her glasses and has to run back.
On Saturday 19th March, Gabrielle and Megan come back and join Steve the Ranger and members of the public for the Spring beach clean-up connecting with site users and listening to their stories.
Walking my dog on another beach gathering up old fishing line, I contemplate a knee jerk categorisation that numbs vision perhaps –
plastic = bad, ‘natural’ = good
— Gabrielle and Megan also make decisions. Sawn timber evades the bin bag, despite being alien to the site. Plastic laid down in the sand strata of delicate dunes left in place. Colour is often the strongest clue to what doesn’t belong.
“It’s so difficult to see.”