Monday 1 September 2014

Folkestone Triennial Artworks

On Saturday, I was lucky enough to visit Folkestone, a town in my home county of Kent, to see some of the Triennial artworks for 2014. It is great to see art being made available in such a way and the town was alive and bustling as a result. I also took the opportunity to shoot a range of photos on my daytrip, some of the area in general and some of the pieces that I encountered whilst walking around the harbour. 

 Amusefood by Something & Son is, on first glance, a mock-up of a traditional British fish and chip shop. As you peep inside the doors, all is revealed. It actually contains a greenhouse which grows peas, potatoes and houses fish tanks. The experiment aims to see whether a self-sufficient food cycle can be successful on an urban site. A really interesting concept that might make you question how our fish, chips and mushy peas arrive on our plates.

Gabriel Lester's The Electrified Line allows you to climb up the steps of its bamboo structure and gives access to fantastic views of the Harbour Railway Viaduct. 

 roofoftwo is the artist behind the Whithervanes 1-5: a Neurotic Early worrying System. This piece involves five modern day 'weathervanes' being placed on five of the tallest most prominent buildings in Folkestone. They respond in real-time to use of fear-related keywords on the internet. When more of these words are detected, the vanes spin faster. The idea behind this concept is to demonstrate how fear is used within the media as a method to control and persuade the masses. Apparently, the chickens on the 'whithervanes' are headless!

Alex Hartley's, Vigil, takes the form of a 'camp' suspended on the side of a hotel which overlooks the English Channel. It represents those that are segregated from society, either for economic or social reasons, or those that choose to be hermits and wish to oversee the world from a distance. The artist and some volunteers are observing from the highest point of this building as part of the project.  

 The final piece that has gripped people across the UK due to its news coverage is Michael Sailstorfer's Folkestone Dig. This is the kind of conceptual art I find fascinating. Just look at the photographs below I took of just some of the hoards of people who have come to Folkestone, equipped with metal detectors and spades to find one of the thirty 24-carat gold bars buried at the harbour! Observing the people, young and old, hunting for treasure at low tide gave me really mixed thoughts. The sense of community and common goal, as well as family fun was palpable. But then of course it also exposes the lengths that people can go to for financial gain! I generally think people are engaging with the project and having fun, but seeing it as a piece of conceptual art, it is a really intriguing social experiment to watch unfold.

If Hartley and his team are watching over the dig from the top of the hotel, are they seeing the cold side of capitalism, or a community celebrating equality?

What do you think of these conceptual art pieces?

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  1. Wow, I never would have considered visiting Folkestone before reading this post! The Folkestone tourism board should definitely consider employing you to write more blog posts about them! I really enjoyed this, so thanks!

    Owl Girl | A London lifestyle blog

  2. That's such a compliment- thank you! It is amazing to see what the council have done with the town. I had a peek at your blog and I love your photos of Brighton. I've followed you so I can read more x