Whitstable Biennale 2018 – Art Festival – 2nd to 10th June 2018

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Photo from: Kris Lock & Josephine Sweeney
The Vase in the Container
Saturday 2nd June – Sunday 3rd June

The 2018 Whitstable Biennale brings the most exciting experimental and emerging art to Whitstable, with live performances, film screenings, sound works, and the written word woven into the fabric of the town, with major new commissions, exhibitions and film premieres.

Art will be dotted around the town making new routes to explore for those who don’t know Whitstable, whilst creating radical and uncanny shifts within familiar spaces for those who do. From a Victorian Sea Scouts Hall to Whitstable’s only DVD/Comic shop, the biennale will take over curious buildings and unusual spaces. Artworks will be located on the streets, on the beach, and in the harbour – inside boat sheds and even on a mysterious spit of land only visible at low tide.

Taking its title from Booker-shortlisted novel Swimming Home by acclaimed writer Deborah Levy, many of the works in the Biennale are a response to the rhythms of the tide and a reflection on the ocean, exploring ideas of where home might be and thoughts of being at sea or in exile. Many of the works also touch on issues of identity and the movement and instability of languages, food, cargo and people. Deborah Levy, own inspiration was drawn from John Cheever’s book The Swimmer which was later made into a film starring Burt Lancaster, and Levy herself will create a new, limited-edition text for the biennale, which she shall read from and distribute to Biennale attendees.

 

For a full programme and to find out more visit www.whitstablebiennale.com

Whitstable Biennale 31st May – 15th June 2014

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Whitstable Biennale stages a festival every two years of new visual art film and performance. The event has grown out of Whitstable’s extensive artistic community, and has developed an international reputation for showcasing the UK’s most exciting up-and-coming artists, and engaging audiences in a rich programme.

Programme below and more details at www.whitstablebiennale.com

A coach will travel from Bethnal Green to Whitstable on Saturday 31st May, for the first day of the festival. Leaving in the morning, and returning to Bethnal Green in the evening (in time to catch tubes).

Email us at info@whitstablebiennale.com to find out more.

Book a place on the Bus, coming to Whitstable from London in the morning of Saturday 31 May 2014 for the first day of the Biennale, and going back to London the same evening. SEATS ARE LIMITED.

Pay by PayPal or credit card: £12 RETURN

Departure point:
V&A Museum of Childhood
Cambridge Heath Road
London E2 9PA
at 11:00 on Saturday 31 May 2014

Walking directions from nearest tube: Bethnal Green

Head north on Cambridge Heath Rd. V&A Museum of Childhood is less than 5 minutes away, on the right.

Arrival Point in Whitstable:
Nearby the Horsebridge Art Centre
11 Horsebridge Road
Whitstable CT5 1AF
at 12:30 on Saturday 31 May 2014

Return:

Departure Point:
Nearby the Horsebridge Art Centre
11 Horsebridge Road
Whitstable CT5 1AF
at 21:30

Arriving at V&A Museum of Childhood, London at 23:00.

Email us at info@whitstablebiennale.com to find out more.

 

 

Installations and film screenings

Rosa Ainley

Building 519

Rosa Ainley is creating an audio and text work focusing on what was the sprawling Pfizer pharmaceutical complex outside Sandwich. The text includes quotes from extensive interview material, coupled with a narrative based on the impenetrable building 519 and uncovering remains of its secret garden.

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Bronwen Buckeridge

The Sorrowful and Immaculate Fall of One Hundred Grazing Sheep

Bronwen Buckeridge’s sound installation is for one person at a time, and uses layered soundscapes to transport the listener to another place – a treacherous beach with falling cliffs, powerful tides and sinking mud.

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Louisa Fairclough

Absolute Pitch – Film Sculpture

Absolute Pitch is a 16mm film installation, developed out of research with composer Richard Glover and Gloucester Cathedral choristers. The work takes as its starting point a sketchbook by the artist’s sister, and continues a notional collaboration between the artist and her deceased sister. Filmstrips from the projectors echo the lines of the sketchbook monoprint, criss-crossing the space, slicing through the semi-darkness and throwing diffuse colour and shadows around the space.

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Neil Henderson

Tidal Island

A video work by Neil Henderson shows time lapse footage of an artificial island off the Lincolnshire coastline. Constructed in the 1970s as an experimental freshwater reservoir, Outer Trial Bank is accessible only at low tide across an expanse of mud flats. Henderson set up his cameras at low tide, leaving them in position to capture a view normally only seen by seabirds, who nest in their thousands on the island.

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Una Knox

Arising where two surfaces border each other

Shot by Una Knox in Beijing, this video follows a local tailor as he makes a traditional Chinese suit out of light-reflective material, highlighting the culture of traditional, bespoke tailoring in a country associated more with mass manufacture. As the tailor labours in his workshop with improvised tools including an old cigarette box, people from outside enter the shop, providing a glimpse of the wider world around him.

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Louisa Martin

The Lighthouse: Scenes 1 and 2

Louisa Martin’s new film features a shifting character, a dancer, who at once plays the part of a socially withdrawn extrovert, and a screen for the audience’s own projections.

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Jeremy Millar

XDO XOL

Jeremy Millar’s new film is about a place and the man who lives there, a man who may be a saint or madman, perhaps even the Last Man. Dressed in a suit and overcoat, he certainly seems out of place, but then this is a place which itself seems uncertain: a place between light and dark, between land and water.

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Katrina Palmer

Did Anyone Read the Book?

In this new audio installation by Katrina Palmer, shown in a lecture hall above Whitstable Library, we hear what sounds like members of a dysfunctional reading group trying to recall the opening paragraph of an influential piece of C20 literature. The source text, in which a character moves between a state of wakefulness and dreaming, is half-forgotten and misremembered by the group.

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Colin Priest

The Dance of the Neptune Plant

Colin Priest takes a seaweed known as Sea Fir as its inspiration, presenting it as an evanescent character bridging animal and vegetal existence, for this new film. The soundtrack is by Romantic Kent-born John Jenkins composed in 1650.

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Kieren Reed

From the Ground up, (A) Social Building

From the Ground Up, (A) Social Building is a new social artwork by Kieren Reed, creating a unique space that is, in effect, functional sculpture – acting through the Biennale as our visitor information centre, the HQ. Reed is interested in exploring participatory practice, and the possibility of creating innovative learning environments within the public realm. Within the HQ, Abigail Hunt’s limited edition for children will be available throughout the Biennale. Also, Collaborative Research Group (CRG), an alternative education programme, will be in residence at the HQ, creating a programme of talks, tours and other events.

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Margaret Salmon

Oyster

Oyster is a short black and white film by Margaret Salmon, shot on 16mm and presented on video accompanied by a flip book. The film is a minimalist documentary, or cinematic poem, exploring the form and fragility of the oyster, the oyster trade, and ultimately the future ecology of its habitat, while being experienced as an avant-garde work, bringing elements of modernism and abstraction to its natural subject.

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Mark Aerial Waller

Welcome to the Association Area

Mark Aerial Waller’s film programme Welcome to the Association Area presents new and classic artists’ film and video alongside science fiction tv, video sharing and digital photography to explore the disjunctures that distance us, then connect us to contemporary art, and includes works by artists including Vito Acconci and VALIE EXPORT, alongside footage from video-sharer Wet Canuck.

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Laura Wilson

Black Top

Laura Wilson’s project, Black Top, focuses on Brett Aggregates, who have been based in Whitstable Harbour since 1936, when they sited their first tarmacadam plant there. Wilson’s work, including film and sculptures, will be sited in the Harbour, in the shadow of the factory.

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Performances and one-off events

The ARKA Group

Beginnings

The ARKA Group’s Beginnings is an immersive installation that tells the story of our universe from the point of view of a meteorite.

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Louisa Fairclough

Compositions for a Low Tide

As day turns to dusk, a group of Rochester Cathedral choristers will walk out with a small group of people along the line of an ancient shingle spit in Whitstable that stretches out a mile out into the sea at low tide. As the group make their way out to the distal end of the spit and back, the choristers perform a new composition, taking loss and consolation as their theme.

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Force Majeure

SUM PLACES: In the real world, we’ve been active

Inspired by Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities, singers will wander through Whitstable during the day staging impromptu performances in odd, out of the way public spaces in the town, each singing parts of a whole At the end of the day the singers will come together to perform the composition in its entirety on the beach, around a fire.

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S Mark Gubb

It all began with Richard Burton…

S Mark Gubb will be giving a performance lecture on a coach winding its way through east Kent, revealing a peculiarly personal relationship with the place the artist grew up in. The work, titled It all began with Richard Burton….. will feature a landscape of strange connections and events, hearsay, C-list celebrities and coincidences. It’s the kind of history that exists anywhere, but one that can only be gathered over a lifetime of being somewhere.

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Fiona James

The Incident, A Diagram for Whitstable

Fiona James works as an artist and choreographer, and this new performance will take as its starting point enacted simulations of disaster situations that beach lifeguards use as training exercises. Taking place on the beach at 1pm on the first day of the Biennale, accompanied by flares and whistles, the work will examine how attention plays out in heightened, stressful, situations where individuals have to think for themselves and, at the same time, act as a team.

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Ben Judd

Vast as the Dark of Night and as the Light of Day

Ben Judd’s Vast as the Dark of Night and as the Light of Day, is based on research into collectivity and ritual, such as the annual Blessing of the Waters ceremony held annually in Whitstable associated with St James, patron saint of oystermen. This new performance will take place at sea, on a traditional Thames Sailing Barge, with audience members and performers creating a temporary, fragile community.

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Hannah Lees

Everything That Happens Simply Happens

Wine and home-made bread will be served by Hannah Lees for Everything That Happens Simply Happens, to be consumed at a long communal table. A 1970’s rock music film will play in the background – an alternative ritual of communal gathering, excess and worship. 

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Samuel Levack & Jennifer Lewandowski

Das Hund & the Pilgrim Shells

In a large, old boatshed full of Harbour equipment and paraphernalia of fishing boats, Samuel Levack & Jennifer Lewandowski will present a new multi-disciplinary work including a performance by their band, Das Hund, video projections and an elaborate stage set.

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Rachel Reupke

Letter of Complaint

Known for her films, Letter of Complaint will be Rachel Reupke’s first live performance. Formed of three tableau vivant (living pictures), each pose will be held for ten minutes, allowing the audience time to scrutinise the scene down to its finest detail. A live narrative will feature a bitter, neurotic voice, drawing from Reupke’s research of complaint letters.

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John Walter

Turn My Oyster Up

John Walter is transforming a beach hut on the seafront into a ‘slang bar’ where he will act as host, serving gin and tonics and (local delicacy) gypsy tarts. Featuring videos, special wallpaper and flooring, and including special performances by Max Leonard Hitchings and Susannah Hewlett, Turn My Oyster Up will use the local oyster culture as a linguistic hook upon which to engage the audience in verbal and visual games addressing slang.

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Richard Wilson and Zatorski + Zatorski

51° 21’ 45″ N, 1° 01’ 13″ E: Whitstable Sounding

Beginning in the last hour of light on 21 June, the longest day of the year, 51° 21’ 45″ N, 1° 01’ 13″ E: Whitstable Sounding is a special event by Richard Wilson and Zatorski + Zatorski. Taking place offshore, and designed to be viewed from Whitstable’s beaches, a number of historic vessels will paint the seascape with steam, smoke and light, as the sounds of ships’ steam whistles, bells, horns, hooters, flares and sirens drift back to shore.

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Special events, workshops & talks

Martin John Callanan

Wars During My Lifetime

Martin John Callanan’s Wars During My Lifetime is Whitstable Biennale’s first permanent online commission. The digital work gathers together wars that have taken place all over the world during one individual’s lifetime so far. Read by a newsreader, the film makes no comment, but quietly and forcefully brings the long list to our attention. 

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Trifarious Projects

Foreign Agents: Jonathan P Watts in discussion

Talk: Jonathan P Watts chairs a discussion with Clunie Reid and John Walter, about the relationship of contemporary fine art practices to design, advertising and fashion.

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Jeremy Millar, Rachel Lichtenstein

Estuary Talk

Talk: exhibiting artist Jeremy Millar in conversation with writer Rachel Lichtenstein in conversation about their new works, both of which are set in the Thames Estuary, and about some of the characters and myths that inhabit this complex body of water, where the river meets the North Sea

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Laura Wilson

Black Top talk

Talk: exhibiting artist Laura Wilson talks about her new work, in the Harbour, in the shadow of the aggregate factory, Bretts.

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Children’s Workshops

Two workshops for children in response to Margaret Salmon’s new film Oyster run by the artist together with children’s reading expert and storyteller, Emily Guille-Marrett.

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Kent Students Open Call

Students studying film, or recently graduated, from the University of Kent, the University for the Creative Arts and Canterbury Christ Church University, were invited to enter short films by open submission. Competition was fierce, and six entries were selected to be screened at a special evening.

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The Whitstable Biennale 2012 – Arts Festival – 1st to 16th of September

From 1-16 September 2012 Whitstable (UK) will play host to THE 6th WHITSTABLE BIENNALE 2012, a festival of new and ambitious contemporary art.

Already an important date in the art world calendar Whitstable Biennale has gained an international reputation for presenting work by some of the most important and exciting artists working today. Dedicated to presenting contemporary visual art, film and performance, the festival is a showcase for ambitious and experimental new work. 

New commissions include Jesse Jones, Benedict Drew, Cara Tolmie, Emma Hart, Patrick Staff, Ben Judd, Touch, Tessa Lynch, Tom Gidley, Tanya Axford, Angus Braithwaite, Martin John Callanan, Kieren Reed. The festival unfolds over three weekends and will extend into each Saturday night with a programme of talks, performances and a late night outdoor cinema. 

Full programme details are available at www.whitstablebiennale.com and a NEW Whitstable Biennale 2012 smartphone App will be available nearer the opening date. 

Notable highlights include: 

Ben Judd’s Vast as the Dark of Night and as the Light of Day, a new live work set on a series of boats that positions the audience, out at sea, as both participant and observer. Engaging the grey area between ritual and performance, Judd searches for an unreachable and idealised state of community. 

 A video installation by Jarman prize 2012 nominee Benedict Drew, NOW, THING, is set against the green screen surface of an indoor bowling green, making use of the super-real artificial ‘chroma-key’ green of the bowling surface in his installation.

Emma Hart presents Monument to the Unsaved #2 (M20 Death Drives), a new sculptural video commission, where wing mirror puppets drinking carved wood cocktails are trapped in a fantasy role playing game; amongst them is the character Emma Hart (2nd level visual artist).

Jesse Jones’ The Selfish Act of Community presents a dramatisation of an iconic encounter group therapy session that took place in the US in the late 1960s, aiming to prompt reflection on both the limits of the radical politics of that era and the potential resources it offers to our present moment of similar crisis and rising political dissent. 

 Three main programmes thread their way through the Biennale weekends.

 Programme 1: curated by The Island (Victoria Brooks and Andrew Bonacina)

Stages in the Revolution is presented by curators The Island, and takes its name from Catherine Itzen’s seminal book about the history of political theatre. The programme invites artists and audiences alike to move beyond the walls of the museum and experiment with ideas of community and sharing culture. Works include Patrick Staff’s series of stages constructed around Whitstable’s working harbour area, to function as new sites for performances, workshops and discussion groups, and also as new public spaces made available for impromptu use; Cara Tolmie’s performance in a large boatshed, and social historian and independent scholar Iain Boal’s guided walk through Whitstable, focusing on his research into the commons. 

Programme 2: curated by Jeremy Millar 

Artist and writer Jeremy Millar has selected an exhibition and talks programme, including a new audio-visual symphony by BJNilsen and Jon Wozencroft (produced in association with the renowned production company and record label Touch), and Speak Near By, a programme of artists’ film and video that explores the intertwining themes of rituals, dream, dance, and possession. The work of American film-maker Maya Deren, whose trance-like films and reflections on dance, anthropology, ritual, and Haitian Voodoo have been substantially influential for a number of subsequent artists, is represented by her classic film Ritual in Transfigured Time (1944-6). Joachim Koester’s 2007 film Tarantism revolves around the old southern Italian belief that the only antidote to the poisonous bite of the wolf spider, or tarantula, is a form of frenzied dancing. For his film New Dream Machine Project (2011), Shezad Dawood created a 3m high version of Brion Gysin’s ‘Dream Machine’, a spinning open drum structure said to lead the viewer into a hypnogogic state. Derek Jarman’s Jordan’s Dance (1977) will also be shown. All four films thus engage the body as a means of transportation to both another mental state and another time and place. A series of talks contextualising the programme include Siobhan Davies in conversation with artist Marcus Coates, and Producer John Wyver.

Programme 3: curated by Emma Leach 

Artist, and Whitstable Biennale’s Performance Curator, Emma Leach presents live performances and immersive and performative installations, with many of the works existing at the intersection of performance with other media, such as video, sculpture, writing and music. A strong concern shared by many of these works is the relationship between material things and the magic that makes them function. Works include Tessa Lynch’s Better Times, an exploration of different types of festival tent and the passive or active interaction they invite. Spanning a weekend, Lynch approaches this work as a 48hr festival which celebrates the nocturnal pastime of dreaming. The festival-goers (dreamers) are linked to each other through the geography they share and their collective engagement with the Biennale. The work is in three parts, each offering an experience for a single visitor to step into, including a dream hotline, a T shirt stall and a performance polling station. Angus Braithwaite’s The Sea is in my Veins, is part performance-lecture and part re-enactment, interweaving the artist’s own diving experience with a history of aquatic success and failure.

 The Biennale visitor HQ located on the main beach is a newly commissioned building entitled, Social Sculpture, by artist Kieren Reed. 

 With an extensive programme of performance, films, and events centred around its three weekends, Whitstable Biennale 2012 is an engaging encounter between innovative and experimental artists, diverse and curious audiences, and unique locations. Weekdays also feature new works, including John Smith’sSoft Work (in association with Turner Contemporary, Margate, Stour Valley Arts and South East Dance), and Oliver Beer’s A Philosophy of Education (Piece for two trebles, two grand pianos and an empty concert hall). The festival is accompanied by a lively festival fringe, the Whitstable Satellite.

Area: South East