Simon Read - Art and landscapes/Tidal protection

Simon Read – Art and landscapes/Tidal protection

I've Simon Reid I'm a senior lecturer at middlesex university in fine art I live in Suffolk on the river deben and what it's done is given me a very very particular understanding of how rivers estuaries and coastal environments work I've been seeking ways in which I can use one my position as an artist and to my position as a senior academic to affect ways in which understanding of environmental change can happen in a community environment first project was just down the river from where I live to see if we can stabilize a salt marsh which otherwise would within 10 years be gone I think it's really refreshing to work with an artist he wants to work with the shape everything about Esther's is about shape and dynamics and Simon understands that the river needs to be dynamic and the shape is really important as an artist I will tend to do what I've always done which you see if I can get it down on a sheet of paper see if I can play the idea out in drawing terms which allows me to basically sort out in my head what the priorities are and to see really what would happen under the most extreme weather conditions on that coast the main source of erosion for this salt marsh you see this was a wall and it's now gone so what we've done is we've put in a series of tidal baffles which basically slow down the rate of flow on the air actually if you look you can see waves in the river you look this sign of the structure because the tide is now ebbing you see no waves it's just taking the punch out of the tide this approaches allowed people locally to understand that they can get up and take action and look after what they've got you need to visually understand what the landscape is and the broader picture of that landscape and I think Simon's work encapsulate that beautifully this is a structure which I'm really pleased with and I think it is successful from the point of view of how far aesthetics can reach into a practical world and also how you can work with communities to enhance their understanding of actually how how natural processes work the collaboration between the universe is the community and the statute authorities has been just a really exciting melting pot of ideas where we've come up with something you really could not have envisaged when we talked to the landowner here two or three years ago because I'm grounded in a very very real situation it gives me a case study which I can then bring back to a hypothetical academic environment and also it gives me a foil by which I can talk to students about issues relating to how artists work with environments which are outside of the gallery museum network and see if there's ways in which one could generate conversations and generating those conversations generates a wider level of understanding and it's actually contributing to a debate which is very very necessary you

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