A vessel is berthed in the lagoon! Its cargo, consisting of various stacked containers, resembles sand in a hourglass: it’s imperceptibly decreasing until the ship is completely empty. Then,
evidently, the loading of the ship begins anew. At maximum capacity – in fact the vessel appears overloaded - a waterfall-explosion cascades down the containers. The side doors of the containers
are being forced open and the water flows down, across the deck and back into the lagoon. Subsequently the pile of containers begins to shrink again until the ship is yet again empty.
That completes the circle.
The container is an allegory. It reveals an uncomfortable lot about our society. In its restless cycle of being permanently loaded and unloaded, it resembles Sisyphus.. It signifies how dependent we are on international trade.
Our society produces a great deal and we lack foresight, especially environmentally. We have no strategy and no political will to a transformation towards a more sustainable society, towards the sea change!
These are the two topics “SWANSEACHANGE” deals with: the continued global trade, visible through transfer sites like ports and harbours on one hand, and on the other the natural power of the environment that surrounds us.
Is it possible to combine those two ? Do we have to protect ourselves from environmental incidents or could we possibly use nature without exploiting it?
I take the key element of the Tidal lagoon-Project to be the following social paradigm shift: the pursuit of a resilient approach to furthering the interests of the community in concert with the power of nature rather than against it.
This wide spectrum of issues is what I hope to evoke in my audience with my installation “SWANSEACHANGE”.
The installation shows the explosive outburst, the stream of water, the sudden unloading of the containers on one side and the untiring, meditative up and down, rising and subsiding of the container formation on the other.
The installation will not require any external energy. Containing only mechanical constructions the installation will function only through the tidal range.
The vessel is connected to the pile of containers. It floats up and down with the ebb and flow of the tide. There is an opening in the hull in the pretended loading area so that in that opening the water stands at the same level as in the lagoon around the ship. In this pool there are three containers, which are affixed to the bottom of the lagoon. At high tide they cannot be seen as they are just below the surface of the water. In the upper third of each container there is a hatch, which opens as soon as they are under water: the container fills with water. When the water level decreases with the ebb, and the container resurface, the hatches close. At the point at which all the containers have resurfaced from the water a mechanism in the lowest one opens all the hatches and the water pours down, like a waterfall, over the container, over the ship, and into the water.
The waterfall runs between 20 to 60 seconds.
Then the water level rises and the process starts over from the beginning.