Copyright 2013

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Beach laboratory; Coastal Reckoning

In September 2010 Valerie Dempsey and Ronald Boer were residents at BADGAST, based at F.A.S.T. in Scheveningen, The Netherlands. For the residency they created an artistic 'Beach laboratory; Coastal Reckoning'. The laboratory responded to the man made steps between the sea and land. Naturally there is a balanced gradient between fresh and salt water where sea meets land.  In Holland, coastal defenses against the sea create steps in the gradient. During our stay at BADGAST we set up an experimental beach laboratory using a distiller as a metaphor for man and salt as an artistic tool to highlight the disruption caused by man-made obstacles to the ecosystem.

The emphasis is to show our work in a state of constant change and evolution.  The incorporation of the work into the landscape affects the landscape, and it is equally affected:  a reflection of nature.  We use observation of nature and natural phenomenon and culture as a central focus of our art and our work to date has used the coastal landscapes of Scotland and the Netherlands, looking at the different imprints made by man on land and sea and the impact of climate change.

Around 3% of the earth’s water is fresh. The coastline of the Netherlands is unique on a global scale with the longest natural dune system. The dunes are used by water companies to filter fresh water from the rivers for use in homes. Water is currently taken from the rivers and piped into artificial lakes within the dunes. It is then filtered naturally in an attempt to keep a balance between fresh and salt water, increasingly this system is being put under stress.We are fascinated by the way in which fresh water is produced for domestic use; underground out of sight. During our residency we did the opposite of this: we made visible the effects of manmade systems on nature.

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