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Materialising Time: Developing new methods of visually representing time as embedded in The Seascape (supported by a Practice Led and Applied AHRC Research Grant)

Pl: Susan Collins 

In Materialising Time I explored new and innovative methods of visually representing time through a series of Seascapes I developed in partnership with Film and Video Umbrella, London and the De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill.
Five networked cameras were placed at key vantage points along the South East coast from Margate to Gosport, each looking out over the English Channel, framing the horizon andforming part of a panoramic series.

The locations included Folkestone where France is visible on the horizon to the naked eye, and Stokes Bay, Gosport where the control centre for the D-Day landings was located.

This project built upon my previous works Fenlandia (2004-5) and Glenlandia (2005-7) which addressed the relationship between landscape and technological innovation in the areas known as Silicon Fen and Silicon Glen respectively. In Materialising Time I extended this investigation to a visual exploration of the relationship between seascape, time and tide on the South East coast of England.

Each of the cameras transmitted and archived live seascape images which were
constructed a pixel at a time, from top to bottom and left to right of the image, in horizontal bands continuously, so that a whole image was constructed from individual pixels collected over varying periods of time, and record fluctuations in light and
movement, time and tide throughout day and night.

I explored the potential for representing time within these digitally transmitted seascape images in a number of ways. One way was through linking the time it took to construct an image to the timing of the tides. I also investigated the potential for these live transmitting images to be made material, applying both innovations in digital print technologies (including 3d printing) and dynamic, navigable web architectures to a continually accumulating image archive.

The outcome was a major solo exhibition called Seascape which took place at the De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill-on-Sea from April-June 2009. It included as series of large and small format digital prints of the pixellated Seascape images, including one 10.5m long print called ‘7 days in June’ which manifested seven days of time as individual pixels and projections of the live updating seascape images installed against the backdrop of the Bexhill coast.

A Seascape website was also exhibited in the gallery and remains online. As well as hosting information about the Seascape project and documentation of the exhibition it introduced an innovative web interface developed specifically for Seascape which allows browsers to scroll through the image archives for each location backwards and forwards in time.
www.susan-collins.net/seascape

A publication, Seascape, was produced for the project by Film and Video Umbrella which included colour plates, 2 contextualising essays (by Nicholas Alfrey in relation to the history of the Seascape, and by Sean Cubitt in relation to time and technology) and 160 days of images from the image archives.

Poised between the still and the moving image, the lens and the pixel, the work reveals how images can be coded and decoded using light and time.

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