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Reckless Sleepers - Guido Calamosca

Reckless Sleepers - Guido Calamosca

Coastal Currents flows again

Coastal Currents first flowed into Hastings 15 years ago. It started small with artists opening their studios and has since evolved and swollen into an entertaining, surprising and intriguing festival. HOT’s Lauris Morgan-Griffiths was certainly impressed last year and, looking at 2014’s brochure, it looks as if the creativity is surging against the stuttery financial tide.

Performance has taken to the streets and into unlikely venues – from large metal containers onto the old St Leonards swimming pool and Alexandra Park, and this year  exhibitions and installations have exploded into and onto shops, St Mary in the Castle, the Stade and the perennial open doors to artist’s studios and beach huts.

Kate MccGwire artwork © Francis Ware

Kate MccGwire artwork (© Francis Ware).

There promises to be an inventive, fragile installation  from international artist Kate MccGwire. This is being kept under wraps to retain an element of surprise but is probably  not for anyone with bird or feather phobias. It is an installation of feathers transforming St Mary in the Castle’s crypt Saturday 30 August – Sunday 14 September and also Butlers Emporium’s shop-front window in the Old Town. Taken individually, bird feathers are exotic, fragile, some highly patterned and colourful. Mallard, pigeon, magpie feathers will be put together to skew our perspective of the Crypt, birds and flight to produce an other-worldly  “darkness and beauty, sensuous and sensual” ‘performance’.

Artist Christo with his wife Jeanne-Claude produced environmental sculptures by

Alice Anderson courtesy of Alice Anderson

Alice Anderson (courtesy Alice Anderson).

wrapping buildings like the Reichstag, Pont Neuf bridge, islands and a coastline to give the various places a mysterious, poetic form. French Algerian artist Alice Anderson follows a similar practice using copper mesh to wrap buildings and objects. Again, like MccGwire, her work changes the perception of the environment and confuses our senses. For two weeks in Hastings Dyke and Dean’s exterior will be transformed in mesh (Dyke and Dean, 14 Claremont, Hastings TN34 1HA, 30 August -14 September).

This year the opening performance is A String Section by Reckless Sleepers – a concert with a difference: the performers a group of women, the instrument a saw; the music, saw against wood and the breath of exertion. The women sit on chairs and reduce the chairs to rubble while trying to stay put for as long as possible. A tragic-musical comedy (The Stade, 30 August, 1pm).

Points of View Roz Cran

Ros Cran: Points of View.

Hastings artist Roz Cran’s work encourages people to take time to stand and stare and to see the world from a different perspective – as in her excellent Figures in the Landscape. For Coastal Currents she has devised a candy-striped Punch and Judy-like booth which will move to different spots in the town that people can enter to be  part of, and see the action, quietly from inside the booth (Points of View, festival weekends at different locations). 

Coastal Currents is not only about international artists, it gives the opportunity for artists to create and perform alongside local artists. And locals are  invited to collaborate or perform in different events.

Frank Boelter To the World's End

Frank Boelter: To the World's End.

Potential naval architects can relive childhood memories of making paper boats. Working alongside artist Frank Boelter at the Swan Pedalo Lake he will help demonstrate origami techniques  to make a life-sized boat out of TetraPak material. Weather permitting, there will  be a procession to Rock-A-Nore where the boat will be  launched into the sea. Onlookers can relive their childhood boat experiences to see whether this giant paper boat swims and sails away  – or not. It might need a giant boat-hook to rescue it (Sunday 14 September, 10.30 am, Swan Pedalo Lake. Launch 3pm).

Lily – Glasshouse in the Garage

Lily: Glasshouse in the Garage.

Alexandra Park hosts a group of men demonstrating fragility and tenderness in Meltdown (Middle Lawn, Sunday 7 September, 1pm, 3pm & 5pm). And the park also features in an exhibition where several Soco artists have been inspired to muse and respond to 1920s greenhouse history, influence and  sad decay (Glasshouse in the Garage, The Garage, Mercatoria, Friday 5-Sunday 7, Thursday 11-Sunday 14, 11am-5pm).

There are many exhibitions around town and many other events: Yumino Seki presents her elusive, lyrical dances at St Mary in the Castle; Trash Cannes Festival will take place at various locations; Hastings film-makers have collaborated to make a film on the theme of the Festival Familiar/Strange (Electric Palace, Sunday 7 September, 7.30 pm). There is much to see and it’s free.

Hastings always surprises. Against the odds, it comes up with creative projects time and time again. Often the arts are battling with lack of money, but it does not always have to be expensive. Lorna Crabbe, who is a director and has been involved with Coastal Currents for the past six years, remembers artist Nathan Burr hanging bird houses made out of bread around Swan Terrace. “That simple idea really grabbed people’s attentions and we probably had more feedback about that project than any other.”

And many of this year’s are simple ideas, if complex in execution. The festival promises much: fantasy, imagination and an invitation to see the world from a different perspective. And don’t forget the launch  at St Mary in the Castle – it promises to be surprising, inventive and, well, Coastal Currents (The Dawn Chorus, 8pm, Friday 29 August. Numbers are limited). 

Coastal Currents runs from Saturday 30 August-Sunday 14 September.

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Posted 08:28 Wednesday, Aug 20, 2014 In: Arts News

Also in: Arts News

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