Thursday, July 16, 2009

5 June 2009 - Day 6: Exploring Eastbourne and Beachy Head

8.30 a.m.


We are greeted in the dining room with a over-blown sub-Russ Conway version of Lara’s theme and Victorian jugs on every surface.

Most of the morning is spent attempting to blog in the bar, with a dodgy signal holding things up.
Giving up we head for Eastbourne via Beachy Head. It’s every bit as dramatic as we’ve been told but we are unprepared for the underlying voyeurism embedded in the tourism experience. And flirtation with the edge.....

Hard to forget the people who jump; only last week a despairing couple jumped over the edge with the body of their disabled son. And yet in the nearby Countryside Centre there are jokey references to this strange vertigo pull it’s impossible to ignore.

2.00 p.m.

In Eastbourne we meet Rosa Ainley who has brought her new work to be included in the Drawing Breath Recycled exhibition which is due to open at Eastbourne District General Hospital on 10th June.

We call by the new Towner Gallery.

We see new work by Ivan Navaro "Nowhere Man" in the window: a deckchair frame made from neon lights and forming the stripes of the canvass, the names of people who have been executed by electric chair.

The disjunction between differing connotations of these two kinds of chair reminds me of a favourite work – Patina de Prey’s Memorial Dress, by Hunter Reynolds, where a a long black ballgown worn by a model of a beautiful young man is printed with long lists of people who have died from HIV/AIDS.

Dinner in the Tiger pub at East Dean is good, following a ride up to Wilmington to see the Long Man.

A tourist kind of day: ancient landscape and the fragility of humanity which flirts with death, while simultaneously defending against it.