Just got off the phone with someone at London Port Authority about a proposal I made for Deptford X. It’s not looking likely that I will be given a license to place this particular work in the Creek, thanks to ‘art project fatigue’. The guy I spoke to said that they have had too many problems with artists in the past not sticking to the agreed specs and endangering themselves and other users of the waterways. He mentioned a piece that collapsed in front of the Tate (didn’t say which Tate, Modern or Britain?) and didn’t name names. Also, that only a month ago an artist installed a work in the very Creek site I’m interested in using for one of my Deptford X pieces. He said the artist didn’t believe it when told that the Creek is navigable and the work needs to be installed in such a way so as not to interfere with boats coming and going. Well, a boat came and crashed right into the work, and the ropes attached to the artwork damaged the boat’s propellor and the owner is trying to get compensation. It’s a situation that the Port Authority does not want repeated.
He said that when he hears the words ‘art’ and ‘project’ together in relation to the waterways, it more often than not signals problems for them thanks to these past experiences, and so they’re pretty disinclined to grant permission in future. He recommended that I install the work on land instead, as the tides are so varied and the currents are a lot stronger than anyone imagines, even in the Creek, and the floor there is so muddy and shifting all the time. Any anchorage I place there, no matter how heavy would likely be buried, making retrieval very difficult.
I was looking for advice on how to work around and with these difficulties, and he said that I could go down there and see if there are any fixtures pre-installed in the Creek that I could attach the works to, but it’s still not very likely I’d be given a license to use it for the work.
He strongly encouraged me to change the idea to something that sits on dry land, rather than something that rises and falls with the tides…
Being the pesky artist I am, wanting to be true to my vision, I’m not giving up quite yet. I’m determined to learn how to make this work work.
Even if I don’t manage to come up with a solution that convinces them to let me put the work in the Creek, I will have learned some really interesting things that I would have never even thought to even ask about!