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Fleet: Art in the Haven PortsFleet: Art in the Haven Ports 

JMT is proud to be a partner for Fleet, a major cross-channel programme for temporary visual arts commissions and residencies. Gavin Turk is the lead artist for the project, which seeks to encourage people to attend arts events through environmentally sustainable transport. It will offer an international series of unique experiences and encounters in Kent, Essex, Suffolk and Nord Pas de Calais in France, and is supported by a cultural exchange programme.

 

 

  

 

Tattered Outlaws of History - DublinTattered Outlaws of History

2 April - 21 August 2011

Tattered Outlaws is an installation of films that imaginatively reconnects the Martello Towers of North County Dublin.

Photographer Dan Dubowitz and choreographer Fearghus O’Conchuir draw on a shared interest in architecture and the body to explore the place these iconic military towers occupy in the landscape and in the psyche of their coastline communities.

From April 1st, Tattered Outlaws of History will be installed in Jaywick Martello Tower as the first of a two-part exhibition by Dubowitz and O’Conchuir.

 

The exhibition was originally commissioned by Fingal County Council and shown in the disused Skerries Martello Tower in Ireland. The second part of the exhibition, ‘If the Invader Comes’ is the final commission from the ‘Fleet: Art in the Haven Ports’ programme.

 

Please download your free children's activity sheet to accompany the exhibition.

 

Teacher's can also download a free resource pack explaining the work.

 

 

If the Invader ComesIf the Invader Comes

 

11 June - 21 August 2011

 

The second part of the exhibition, If the Invader Comes, is in response to the East England's coast of Martello Towers, where it will run in dialogue with Tattered Outlaws of History. This is shown on a three screen installation.

  

As the film develops the character of the tower it emerges in the watcher and his dance with shadows. The viewer is invited to indentify with the watcher and to share his experience.

 

 'If the Invader Comes' is the second collaboration by Dubowitz and O'Conchuir that investigate the relationship between people and places. This follows in their joint work, Tattered Outlaws of History, which was commissioned by Fingal County Council.

 

In 2010, Dubowitz and O'Conchuir were commissioned to make a new project developing the ideas explored in 'Tattered Outlaws of History' with a residency at Jaywick Martello Tower.

 

   

To see a preview of the exhibition visit iftheinvadercomes.com

 

 

 

 


East Artists Professional Development Afternoon at Jaywick Martello Tower

Tuesday 7 June 2011, 2pm - 5pm

Price: Free with drinks and snacks included

With talks by photographer Dan Dubowitz and choreographer Fearghus O’Conchuir, firstsite, in partnership with Commissions East, is offering an opportunity for artists based in the East of England to visit Jaywick Martello Tower for an afternoon of talks and networking, viewing of ‘Tattered Outlaws of History’, and a preview of ‘If the Invader Comes’, the final commission in the ‘Fleet: Art in the Haven Ports’ programme.  This opportunity is open to practitioners working in dance or in the visual arts.

This opportunity is part of firstsite’s Artist Support programme which supports artists’ creative and professional development, with a particular emphasis on artists working in the East of England.

Attendees will also be invited to submit a proposal for making a new work as a direct response to the site.  The successful applicant will receive a budget of £500 towards the creation of the new piece and the work will be exhibited in the tower during August 2011.  This artist will be selected by Dan Dubowitz and Fearghus O’Conchuir with a representative from firstsite, who are providing the materials budget.

How to apply:

Attendance is funded by firstsite, is free and is based on selection by application.  If you are interested in attending please email a copy of your CV and a short statement (max 120 words) outlining your interest.

Send to: laurae@firstsite.uk.net by 9am, Monday 23rd May 2011.

Please find download programme for more details.

 

 

 

The artists, commissioners and Jaywick Tower manager discuss the Fleet programme, the exhibited work and the role of the artist.

 

DAVID WRIGHT, Director, Commissions East

What is Fleet?

Fleet is a major programme of temporary commissions and residencies by artists in historic locations in the East of England during the summer of 2010. Fleet has been developed to support and enhance tourism and place-making, to contribute to community cohesion and outreach, and economic growth. Through visiting Fleet tourists and local people will be encouraged to participate in and experience a high quality art programme, using bike, boat, train, bus and walking routes.

Fleet offers a series of unique experiences and encounters, highlighting destinations that are not traditional tourist attractions or well-known for their cultural heritage.

 

 

What are the aims of Fleet?

The overall aim of Fleet is to contribute to economic growth/tourism development in France and UK through the commissioning of a series of linked projects and events by artists in these locations. This has been supplemented by a programme of tours and exchanges organised by the participating organisations, primarily bike rides and walks. 

 

How do Dan and Fearghus fit into the Fleet programme?

I think that this is probably as simple as that they are raising the profile of a series of historic buildings on the Essex coast which have links with France (even though these are combatative!). I think that contributing to the understanding of these towers amongst the communities that they inhabit is also important.

 

DAN DUBOWITZ, Photographer & Film Maker

What overlaps do you see in the two bodies of work ‘Tattered Outlaws of History’ and ‘If the Intruder Comes’

The Irish project focused on reuniting a family of 12 different towers. These twelve towers had been obsolete from the start, never having been attacked by Napoleon or anyone thereafter. We recognised that they were a family and wanted to bring them back together again.


When we arrived at Jaywick as a base to explore the East coast Martello towers of England, on the one hand, we had an open mind as to what we might do but on the other were conscious of the baggage we were carrying from the last experience. We did however, realise early on that we wouldn’t be focusing on completing a set this time, and although growing out of an experience of all the East coast towers the new work, 'If the Invaders Comes' features just a selection of the them. The artwork this time centres around towers that are on cusp of regeneration.

 

How does the work approach and deal with the main aims of Fleet?

Built in strategically important locations in military and defence terms, the sites of the Martello Towers were and remained pretty much obsolete on the periphery physically and culturally and out of mind's eye. In re-visiting these lands-end locations we are drawn back into them as places of interest, highlighting coastal destinations that are off the beaten track yet utterly intrguing.

 

Tell us a little about the various Martello Towers you've visited during this and previous projects - do you have a favourite?

We visited every tower we could along the East coast during our residency and gained access to all of them through people's generosity. Our artwork gre out of this experience, a sort of road trip, getting into and experiencing not only the towers but crucially meeting with the owners of the towers, the current guardians and custodians. One of the most intriguing towers is Tower F in Clacton where we recognised the very personal journey the owners had taken and were about to take once again.

 

How do you measure the success of ‘Tattered Outlaws of History’, what memorable responses have you had to your work?


There was a great sense of collaboration initially from Fingal County Council and subsequently with the local people in Skerries. A willingness to be involved and get stuck in physically opening up the tower every weekend, dragging out a generator and keeping it open to the public across the summer.


The tower was stand in a lonely spot, up on a hill, and the locals hadn't seen inside it for decades. There wasn't an established history of the tower being something people could come and visit. Within the small space we constructed a viewing platform for between eight and twelve people and no-one questioned the scale of this, but whenever the tower was open queues formed through the tower and on the outside with visitors waiting up to two and a half hours to get in to see the installation. We also imagined people would be spending just a short time in the tower and really didn’t expect them to stay for long, dripped on in a dark, cold and very derelict tower, but they did, they lingered to watch and talked to each other, discuss the installation and the potentail future of the tower. The volunteers soon organised for board in the tower, which folk filled in with suggestions for a future for the tower. It was completely unexpected that they were engaging with dance and contemporary art, something few of them would have expected to be doing on a Saturday afternoon out. These weren't historians or art scene audiences, just diverse folk from all walks of life drawn in by the tower.

 

What role does the artist play in society?


When you walk into a situation as an artist you have a licence to express yourself in a different way. The role of the artist when working in urban regeneration specifically is really useful, it’s like you are given a joker card to draw attention to what reveals and makes a place. You have a licence to focus on and reveal the qualities in a situation and reflect on its impact on people, in stark contrast to the rest of the field who are locked into a culture limited to quantifiable observations and statements. The potentail for an artist in society is far less to do with the creation of objects and more to do with making artwork which solicits an engagement between people and the world around them. But you need to puch the boat out, if you don’t make challenging work you can’t reach that point.

 

www.civicworks.net

 

 

 

FEARGHUS O’CONCHUIR, Dancer and Choreographer

Tell us a little about the various Martello Towers you've visited during this and previous projects - do you have a favourite?

In Ireland my favourite is the tower on Ireland’s Eye.  Though the Fingal towers are built to the same design, Ireland’s Eye is larger than the others so there was more space to be physical in on its roof. Also it rained a lot during the time we were researching and filming on the towers but one of the days we spent on Ireland’s Eye was gloriously sunny – almost Mediterranean - so there was something quite different and enjoyable about dancing there. I also have a soft spot for the first tower I climbed up, in a place called Lough Shinny.  Some local kids told us that we could get in to the tower by climbing up a rope to its first floor entrance.   Getting in like that was an amazing experience. I made my way to the roof for the first time, saw the view from there was beautiful and realized that this was where we could make work.   It wasn’t a smooth space like a studio, it offered resistance (roughness, dirt, risk, weather), asking ‘are you strong enough, open enough to create something here?’.

The tower that stands out for me at the moment on the East Coast of England is the one on the former HMS Ganges site.  You remember firsts and this was the first one we visited on the east coast that was empty. We’d visited towers that are now people’s homes but this was the first disused space we visited and it had a real atmosphere because of its emptiness. It felt isolated because it’s on a site of re-development and nature has reclaimed it with all sorts of animals such as deer wandering around. It’s so surprising to be in this former military tower on a former military base but all around is the softness of nature.   It was particularly resonant to me and stimulated my imagination in a way that helped me perform there.   On an aesthetic level it photographs beautifully with a luminous jewel-like green interior.

 

Do you feel your work is accessible to everyone and has a common understanding?

I think it’s accessible but I don’t think that’s the same as a common understanding. It’s accessible because it’s coming from the human body and we have evolved to be really sensitive to what information other human bodies are communicating.  In Tattered Outlaws of History, the range of people and ages in the film and the connections that you begin to notice between their different activities  - some familiar, some abstract – encourages viewers to feel that they do have the skills to understand what they are seeing.

In the new work, we are filming the shadow of a moving body.  When the shadow is static it’s like a smudge and it’s not so distinctive but once you see it moving you recognize its human origin.   The fact that it’s a shadow gives the viewer the space to imagine what’s going on.  It invites people in.

 People get anxious that they might not understand what they see.  They don’t trust that what they see might be true. I like to put my work in different places – building sites, football pitches, Martello Towers - so a wider variety of people see it and recognize something about it.   Rather than art in a gallery or dance on stage, which is seen mostly by people who know what to expect, it’s important to me to have a variety of responses to my work and for my work to have a wider reach through them.

 

What memorable responses have you had to your work?


I organised a day of dance called ‘Pick ‘n’Mix: The Dance Selection’ in a former Woolworths in East London.  On the day, people who had never seen dance before were amazed to have access to high quality choreography and see skilled professional dancers on their own doorstep, but it’s not just about physical accessibility or proximity.   It’s also about presenting the work in a generous way that invites people in.


Since Pick ‘n’Mix a number of people have told me that when they pass the old Woolworths they remember the event.   I am touched that my apparently ephemeral art form can live on in people’s minds, changing their perceptions of the space, leaving a trace in their bodies.   

Another memorable response was to a dance film I made for national television in Ireland.  The film was set in a football stadium and was talked about on a radio chat show the following day. A listener called in to say he’d seen the film and although he had no idea what it was about he couldn’t stop watching it.   I’m proud of the film eliciting that kind of direct instinctive response. 


What role does the artist play in society? 


I’d like to think that what I do is make a place or be a model for people to think differently, to try things, to use their imagination through creativity. A lot of people haven’t had the opportunity to do that and it’s a waste of potential.   For society to flourish, people need to be able to realize their potential and artists, when we’re at our best, suggest how we might all do that.

 

www.fearghus.net

 

 

KERITH RIRIE, Jaywick Martello Tower Manager

What do you see as the main aims of Fleet and how do these fit with Jaywick Martello Tower?

The main aims of Fleet are to link important heritage sites with art and sustainable transport. Jaywick Martello Tower (JMT) is an important heritage site and many artists find the location, building and community inspiring. This makes JMT a successful arts and heritage venue and gives a platform for the two to combine.

 

What interests you about Dan and Fearghus's work?

I am interested in Dan and Fearghus’s work because it explores the space of a Martello Tower in an interesting and unique way. It also links the Towers, these Towers now stand alone but were part of a unique defence system, the Towers were linked and the project is linking the Tower once again. It brings the human element of how people interact and build relationships with the towers.

 

What's your relationship to Jaywick Martello Tower and Martello Towers in general?

Every element of the Tower has been designed for function not aesthetics yet Martello Towers have a beautiful unique design. The unique design makes them interesting to work with, for every exhibition we have to think differently on how to use the space to display a message.

 

Are you confident visitors will be able to understand and find a reading for the new work?

Yes, we are the perfect venue to help understand the work. Visitors will get the opportunity to explore a Martello Tower whilst viewing the work allowing two levels of interpretation. The relationship with the buildings that the artists have interpreted and the relationship the visitor has with the building during their visit.

 

What role do you feel the artist plays in society?


Artists encourage us to think and explore life in different ways, they provoke thought and encourage us to display our thoughts in a creative way. When we see someone else’s interpretation it also helps to us to think about the subject matter from a different viewpoint.