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The 7th Whitstable Biennale 2014

Date uploaded: May 14, 2014

Whitstable Biennale’s main programme presents the work of over 45 artists, including the premiere of 25 new works, commissioned by Whitstable Biennale especially for the festival. The Biennale runs from 31st May to 15th June 2014.

Selected highlights from the main programme:

The Sea Becomes a Stage
There will be a performance on board a sea-going sailing barge, performed at sea and entitled  'Vast as the Dark of Night and as the Light of Day' by artist Ben Judd. The work explores a blurred boundary between ritual and performance, employing the choreographic and the rhythmic as a method of constructing and examining communities, the performance will attempt to form a temporary, and fragile, community out of the participants on board ship.

Whitstable Biennale Special Event
Richard Wilson, sculptor, twice shortlisted for the Turner Prize and who recently installed Slipstream at Heathrow Airport teams up with artist duo Zatorski + Zatorski. Viewable from the town’s beaches, 'Whitstable Sounding . .' , is a concert that will take place at sea. It will be performed by a fleet of historic vessels that the artists have modified to become playable musical instruments, 51° 21’ 45″ N, 1° 01’ 13″ E  Whitstable Sounding: Rockets and Blue lights (close at hand) to warn steam boats of shoal water begins in the last hour of light on Saturday 21st June, the longest day of the year. As daylight fades the ships will paint the seascape with steam, smoke and light, setting a Turner-esque stage that will reverberate with the sounds of ships ‘voices’. (NB This is a Whitstable Biennale Special Event taking place a week after the main Biennale dates on June 21st)

Das Hund & the Pilgrim Shells
A performance by Samuel Levack and Jennifer Lewandowski will feature their band Das Hund performing in the South Quay Boatshed. The huge warehouse will be infused with psychedelia, multi-layered analogue sounds from vintage studio equipment and hypnotic vocals, while the artists’ films will be projected onto totemic sculptural sets.

Choristers will walk a mile out to sea
Cathedral choristers in white robes will walk a mile out to sea at dusk, on a shingle shelf just above water-level, whilst performing a work about grief and loss by artist Louisa Fairclough who has teamed up with composer Richard Glover. As the choristers return to land the waves of the incoming tide behind them will engulf and cover the causeway they were walking on. Audience members will be invited to either watch from the shore or join the choristers on their poignant journey along the shingle causeway.

Art Angel Open winner
Since being commissioned by Whitstable Biennale 2014, Katrina Palmer, like Clio Barnard (Whitstable Biennale 2008) before her, has won the Art Angel Open. Whitstable has, it seems, become a route for accelerating the careers of the most exciting young contemporary artists in the UK.

Katrina Palmer is creating a new audio installation which features the opening paragraph of an influential piece of twentieth century literature. The source text, in which a character moves between a state of wakefulness and dreaming, is half-forgotten and misremembered by the group discussing it.

A sense of place
Kieren Reed investigates the potential of art to transform society with a new social artwork for Whitstable Biennale 2014 entitled From the Ground up, (A) Social Building. The work creates a unique space for audiences to explore, and a point from which to pick up information about the whole festival.

Through his functional sculpture Reed is exploring the legitimacy of participatory practice and the possibilities of creating innovative learning environments within the act of building a public space.

Building 519
Rosa Ainley’s extensive research into the Pfizer pharmaceutical complex near the town of Sandwich, Kent UK leads to a new work of fiction entitled Building 519, and other Pfizer Tales.

The work explores the echoes of the previous lives the Pfizer pharmaceutical complex, leading to a new incarnation of the site, (re)constructed from people’s memories and accounts, both real and imagined.

Source material includes interviews with staff members from manufacture, research, administration and management, across the Pfizer operation, both from the recent and more distant past. Ainley also used archive material, press cuttings, historical accounts and site documentation.

The Sorrowful and Immaculate Fall of One Hundred Grazing Sheep 
The visitor will be taken alone to an undisclosed building where artist Bronwen Buckeridge presents a sound installation for one person at a time. Arriving at the location your journey is not yet complete as Buckeridge will use layered binaural soundscapes to transport you (the listener) to yet another place – a treacherous beach.

It all began with Richard Burton…
It all began with Richard Burton… is a performance lecture taking place on a bus. Artist S Mark Gubb leads a tour through the coastal towns of east Kent, revealing a peculiarly personal relationship with the place he grew up in. Setting off from Whitstable, the tour gradually makes its way through a landscape of strange connections and events, littered with 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.

For more information and the full programme click here.

Photo: Louisa Martin 2013 (Courtesy Louisa Martin, Ceri Hand Gallery and Jerwood Visual Arts. Photo © Hydar Dewachi)

Photo: Louisa Martin 2013 (Courtesy Louisa Martin, Ceri Hand Gallery and Jerwood Visual Arts. Photo © Hydar Dewachi)