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The Tenth Coastal Currents proved a resounding success. It provided a more in-depth and varied focus on the visual arts, and also brought back the film festival Shot By the Sea into the Festival time-frame, allowing for many connections to be made across different arts genres and included two stunningly beautiful lighting-up events: pictured here, the weekly Pier to Eternity bike rides and Kimonos at Sunset up at The Beacon.

Below, onlookers and participants CLAIRE BILLINGER, ANNABEL TILLEY and SCOTT ROBERTSON give their reactions to the Festival

SCOTT ROBERTSON used the West Hill Lift to ask some searching personal questions. Would riders on the lift consign themselves to Hell, or ascend to Heaven? And, elsewhere in the town, how would a Hastings estate agent talk up Hugh Davies’ Sea Glimpse?

Finding myself once again filling the shoes of an art student (in that arty world) after a decade and a touch away working a bit too hard at a job best described as character building (in that nowhere near arty world), I accepted the offer to take part in Coastal Currents.

Reasons. After a bit of confusion on my part it was made clearer that I was offered the chance to go public. Public space that is. There was a bit of a carrot on a stick moment, talk of a small amount of money to cover my costs, so I proposed to give away art for free. My art. I don’t normally call it that, art, it’s just usually my stuff. But this stuff I got framed, made it look nice, tempting. In exchange I wanted good and bad confessions from the people of Hastings.

I fear public art. In my eyes it nearly always fails. But in my work the public are the art. I just try and tempt them to perform.

I needed something fairly quick and easy to produce as at the same time I had been setting up a large group show in Exeter with fellow St Martin’s students. The work itself was incredibly simple (just 2 prints, 2 ballot boxes and a load of forms), and the location housing it is a simplified symbol. Heaven and Hell. It is also hassle free.

During the year I had been writing about guilt in art, moral duties and art as penance. Confession is not a long way off.

I keep my expectations low (but that is just me). A previous experience in Hastings never got a single response. At present, I know I have only two tales of good at the top of the lift, and a pile of maybe 20 bad down the lift in the Old Town. My other half has taken to mailing forms out in the hope of interaction, but I can’t help feel a little sad at that.

But Coastal Currents has been a very pleasant surprise. A much greater effort appears to have been made, artists invited from a wider range. The standard better, the bar raised. I am pleased I took part.

The little piece of Coastal Currents that made me chuckle and feel like I had my own little secret was Sea Glimpse by Hugh Davies.

I had the good fortune to meet Davies one day, and he was describing to me the importance of the sea glimpse in Hastings. Estate agents giving the big sea view sale. Stand on tip toe on a chair by the wardrobe, through the skylight, a little glimpse of sea between the rows of houses. It’s important to get the sea glimpse.

But Davies has the brilliant touch of location. So near yet so far. You get the bonus delving down into the little garden that you have always seen but never been. The sea is close, very close, but you’d never know. Until you take a glimpse into his magic mirrors, and take in the view.

Posted 10:49 Tuesday, Nov 3, 2009 In: Arts News

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