Hastings & St. Leonards on-line community newspaper
Bodies in Urban Spaces by Willi Dorner, photo Lisa Rasti

Bodies in Urban Spaces by Willi Dorner, photo Lisa Rasti

Interactive currents

Coastal Currents is back and celebrating its fourteenth year. Hastings and St Leonards is hardly known for hiding its creative light under a bushel, and in this edition all that artistic talent is positively invited to floodlight the town.  HOT reporter Lauris Morgan-Griffiths went along to find out what is in store.

Each year it seems Coastal Currents has been growing stronger and stronger.  Last year its presence was really felt with magical, thought-provoking installations, and this year the performance and interactive element will really be strutting its stuff in the streets and crannies of the town. The theme, Hastings Live, is being powered by a new collaboration between Creative Coast and South-East-based commissioning company Home Live Art, whose aims are live, narrative-based, interactive, community participation and site-specific arts. And, most importantly, all performances are free.

Flag V hammer and Sickle by Christina Mitrentse

The two Home Live Art directors live in the South-East:  Mimi Banks in Brighton while Jane Greenfield is a recent arrival from Nottingham via London. Because of the geography this collaboration with Creative Coast couldn’t be more exciting and timely. Having run the Nottingham Nott festival for 11 years, Jane Greenfield has experience of building and educating an audience, which gives her the leeway to programme more radical work. The aim is to be new and challenging, to stretch people’s imaginations and curiosity and wish to embrace this sort of art. She explains: “I wanted the work to have a Hastings perspective; work that has probably not been seen down this part of the world and work that will genuinely surprise people.” She has no intention of patronising the Hastings audience, nor does she want to alienate them by programming something that is too way-out. Yet.

Hopefully the collaboration between Creative Coast and Home Live Art will be successful and will continue so we can look forward next year to some cutting-edge art that will really attract attention to the South-East. The starting point bodes well, with the introduction of some international companies with a definite edge.

Bodies in Urban Spaces

One such is Austrian choreographer Willi Dorner who will lead a Pied Piper-type procession of an audience around the streets of Hastings and stop and squish-and-squash bodies into various nooks and crannies to give a different view and emphasis to the town’s architecture. At first it was thought to lead this merry band around the Old Town. But via research and Google maps Dorner preferred the idea of taking this art out of the well-known areas and into the non-obvious areas. The performance will stride, run, jump and flip parkcour fashion around Priory Meadow, wiggling around Portland Terrace, Queen’s Road, Alexandra Park and St James Road to include and embrace people who might not otherwise interact with art. The performance will take about 60 minutes with 20 performers and an audience as big or small as wants to turn up, join in, fall away and have fun with this fast-moving, human choreography to create fleeting sculptural moments.  But you will need to be physically fit and have stamina to take part! Auditions have already been held for performers to help with the human choreography. They will be rehearsing in situ, so prior to the performance local residents and shoppers will witness impromptu breakouts around the town.   21 and 22 September 12 noon and 4 p.m.

Destruction Creation

Worktable, photo Kate McIntosh

Worktable, photo Kate McIntosh

Another exciting, playful, creative, destructive interactive art is Worktable, devised by Kate McIntosh. It all takes part in a series of shipping containers near the Swan Boating Lake. Objects have been donated, the ‘audience’ selects a piece, breaks it up, takes it to another shipping container, selects someone else’s broken piece, takes that to another shipping container, and assembles it in any way they think fit. This remade object is then taken to the final container and exhibited. Worktable is open 27-29 September from 11 to 6. People can return several times and stay for as long as they want. Some start off tentative, become engrossed in the activity, their imagination takes off and their inner kid come out to play.

Walking Stories

Walking Stories Pari Nadari

Walking Stories Pari Nadari

The interactive nature of the work means that people are experiencing things for themselves, by themselves, and become part of the performance. Walking Stories, devised by Charlotte Spencer Projects, takes individuals equipped with headphones and MP3 players on an audio journey in Alexandra Park.  It is part narrative, part sensual, as the ‘audience’ sees, hears, smells and interacts with the environment as well as with those walking alongside. Described as a poetic, playful, walking dance, it is accessible to anyone – with the assurance that no-one will be exposed to anything dangerous or embarrassing. Walking Stories: gather at Eat@The Park Café on 28 and 29 September between 2 and 4pm.

Flag Texting

It will be interesting to see how the semaphore flag-waving  Save Me will pan out.  Between Hastings promenade and the De La Warr Pavilion two figures, standing on metre-high platforms, will attempt to have a conversation using only semaphore

Save Me  Search Party © Jim Banks

Save Me Search Party © Jim Banks

flags. The flag signallers are not necessarily well versed in semaphore. So as they make sense of the communication, they will translate the conversation onto large chalk boards – mistakes and all. It could result in a sort of visual Chinese whispers. Primitive texting, perhaps?

The performance, produced by Search Party, explores the idea of intimacy and separation. Passers-by can suggest what they might ‘sign’. They can also share their own stories of separation by answering three questions about separation: Who are you apart from? Where are they now? What would you like to say to them?  and tie their answers on yellow tags onto the platforms.

A poignant and gentle performance.

Hunt & Darton, photo Christa Holka

Hunt & Darton, photo Christa Holka

These are really the tip of what is on offer. There are films by international and local film-makers being shown in shipping containers.  Pineapple-hat-wearing anarchic duo Hunt & Darton will be spotted giving out information – and misinformation – about the festival. Christina Mitrentse’s Metal Library, an installation of books, will interpret the Anglo-Saxon and Hastings flag, as well as asking people to share stories about their favourite books. There are also adventures to be had, stories to find, places to explore in open studios, installations and art exhibitions around the town and onto the beach.

And there’s a Closing Party at the White Rock Hotel on Sunday 6 October 7.30-10p.m. And that will be a party with a difference.  Wow.

Go exploring, see the town in a different way and Coastal Currents will have achieved what it has set out to do: to intrigue and inspire.

Coastal Currents runs from 21 September – 6 October.



Posted 19:24 Tuesday, Sep 10, 2013 In: Performance

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