Time & Tide

a meditation on the history and landscape of Bosham harbour

by Sarah Rubidge & Jane Rees
Sound by John-Marc Gowans

 

 

This installation embodies a dialogue between the natural and the technological. The installation environment is made up of sculptural structures which both serve as reflective surfaces for the fluid digital imagery and contain traces of the harbour from which the images were taken (seaweed and other flotsam and jetsam). The structures stand on silver sand, the whole installation thus permeated with the sights, sounds and smells of  sea and shore.

 

Bosham Harbour, nr Chichester, has one of the fastest  rising tides in the country. For many hours each day, at low tide,  the harbour bed lies exposed. With the retreat of the tide, sheets of seaweed lie draped over the surface of the harbour bed, and over the grasses which grow in the littoral.  This creates a forest of tiny pyramids at the edges of the harbour. Seaweed, bottles, twigs, grasses, dead  fish, crabs, all covered with a coating of mud and seaweed, lie scattered randomly across the harbour floor. At high tide, conversely, the harbour becomes a sheet of glittering water, which refracts the light of the sun and the moon, and reflects the clouds as they scud across the sky.

 

The recorded history of Bosham Harbour goes back as far as the Romans, who used Bosham Harbour to access the lands they settled. Centuries later Bosham was also the site of many  Viking raids.  (Legend has it that the Vikings flayed their victims and hung their skins on posts or doors to deter others from defying their demands.  It is said that the people of Bosham reversed this,and flayed a captured Viking and hung his skin on the church door to deter the invaders.) Additionally King Canute is reputed to have tried to hold back the  tide  at Bosham. Canute's daughter is said to have drowned in the mill stream behind the church. Her remains lie buried in a coffin in the nave of Bosham church. Finally, Sussex was one of the last places in which witches were burned at the stake, although there is no record that these burnings occurred in Bosham itself. 

Time and Tide  uses these sources as a starting point for an artistic meditation on these fragments of history and on the landscape in which they were played out.

 

Click here for more details of the compositional processes underlying Time and Tide  

 

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