A live art event running across a day to document Exmouth Beach and the people who use it. Conceived and led by Jane Mason, Grace Surman and Gary Winters and commissioned by the Outdoor Cultures strand for the Creative Peninsula project (University of Exeter).

At dawn the swimmers arrive; it’s 10am and the man rolls along the tide line as a group start digging holes with their equipment; over lunch, a couple describe what they have seen in the distance, crab claws waving, snapping and gesturing. By 3pm the water recedes to reveal a secret on the seabed, the lifeguards wait and the family sleeps. Who’s shouting? Who knows what’s going on? Birds drift, the boat station is poised. More swimmers arrive for a late bout, they stand still; someone says “It’s going to be a high, high tide.”

Please watch a short film responding to the live artwork, created by Clare Dearnaley and Mark Carey, with music by Alison Cotton.

The ambition of the day was to create a document in film and sound through social interaction and site intervention. The artistic process will be on show, an emergent event in the making; a series of meetings with place and public. The film will return for screening, back to the place of its making.

We will have a crew of collaborators, a loose arc of activities for the day – the sea swimmers bookend the time – plus space to respond to what we find. A mobile office in a van, a station set up to review the material as we go, to look at and ponder, try things out, speak to people who are there, observe what’s happening, shape a response.

Jane says, “It’s important to me to have the choreography with the sea swimmers, to have the stillness, the spaciousness, the line of them together.”

Gary says, “Yes, yes that’s good, and I can get together the bit where you do that dance with your pointy feet in the sand and you then say to me “Gary, can you wear that costume” and we film that.”

Grace says, “But I’d like to know what the people who live and work so close to the sea are doing? After everything we hear and read about it, are they the ones shouting?”

Come down and see what we’re up to, come and talk to us, tell us how you feel about the sea, this coast, this place, this land.

Observe, participate, hang out, we’d love to see you.

Supported by Exmouth Beach Rescue Club

Exmouth Art Film 17 July22 00044

Performance by sea-swimmers

7am & 7pm

Throughout the day we documented the presence of people visiting the beach; responding and interacting through small experimental actions, composition of materials, engendering gentle participation and informal interviews.

As a loose working schedule for the day between the ‘bookend’ swimmer moments we presented events at the following times (allowing for breaks between activity, and time to process and upload the materials gathered):

7.00am – 9.00am

10.00am – 1.00pm

2.00pm – 4.30pm

5.30pm – 8.00pm