Show Presents Waves of People's Opinions on the Siren Call of the Sea; Swansea Art Installation Brings the Tide on Stage

Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), July 25, 2008 | Go to article overview

Show Presents Waves of People's Opinions on the Siren Call of the Sea; Swansea Art Installation Brings the Tide on Stage


Byline: Robin Turner

KINGCANUTE famously tried to hold it back and, according to the Romans, Neptune ruled it.

Now a South Wales artist is trying to find out about the magnetic pull that entices us in hordes to live, work and holiday beside it.

Jennie Savage, 32, is planning a spectacular art installation on Swansea's seafront.

Over the next few months she will be building a cinema-like auditorium on land overlooking Swansea Bay.

Those in the seats inside will view a stage which will in fact be a giant open space "framing" the sea in the distance.

And a soundtrack for those viewing and contemplating the "briny" will feature recorded interviews with Swansea folk talking about their love of the sea.

Jennie plans to spend next week interviewing dog walkers, surfers, swimmers, beachcombers and people in general who love coming to the sea to watch its majesty, trail their feet in the water or throw pebbles into the waves.

She said: "The Victorians were so fascinated by the sea they extended our viewpoint even further by building huge long piers purposefully designed for the act of staring out to sea.

"I have experienced the lure of the sea myself. I regularly used to drive from Cardiff to Caswell Bay in Swansea to swim in the sea - I just needed to do it.

"The sea and Swansea's residents' relationship with it will provide the background to the auditorium itself."

The temporary art installation has been commissioned by SA1 visual arts charity Locws International to be part of the Swansea Festival of Music and the Arts.

"Jennie would like to meet people who have a daily connection with the sea and create a 'Soundtrack to the Sea'," said project manager Grace Davies.

The auditorium will be open to the public during the festival this autumn.

Former poet laureate John Masefield tried to sum up the call of the sea in his famous work, Sea Fever, in which he wrote: "I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky ... to the gull's way and the whale's way and the wind like a whetted knife".

And psychologists have even used the unique charms of Gower's beaches to counteract depression, anxiety, addiction and relationship problems.

Londoner Rhonda Brandrick, 42, a member of the British Association of Counselling and Therapy, hit on the idea of using Gower as a healing resource after discovering the area as a child on seaside holidays with her parents.

She set up Human Nature, an outdoor therapycentre in Swansea last year and said: "I've known Gower since I was 14 and fell in love with it.

"I became based in Bristol as a counsellor and had many clients with problems who had never been to the seaside. Outdoor therapy combines conventional therapeutic techniques with simple, but mood lifting activities like watching the tide coming in or walking through a wood. …

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