Climate and Change

Towards viable futures for the artist-led

A four-part essay on land reclaimation, the Bethnic seabed community and the importance of artist-led space. 

Has the Doggerland of the artist-led always existed? What affects could the dredging of the area, by the mainstream art scene, have on contemporary and continued artist-led activity? Will such practices become artefacts of an otherwise forgotten time?

In 2014, Holly was invited by Sam Playford-Greenwell and Tom Prater to be the first writer-in-residence for Doggerland, a research initiative that shares its name with a submerged landmass. The initative aims to contribute towards a culture of critical engagement and dialogue between younger and independant artist-led activities in the UK.

This grew into the publishing of a four-part essay exhibited at Five Years Gallery in London. This was part of the group show The Storegga Slide.

The Storegga Slide is reported to be one of the largest known landslides in recorded history. Occurring off the west coast of Norway, the mega-tsunami submerged the landmass known as Doggerland. Separating Britain from mainland Europe and marking the end of the Mesolithic age. Doggerland has since proven to be a rich resource for archaeological artefacts, each with its own interpretation of a past that is only readable through the rediscovered traces.
However, on the coasts around this area, centuries of land reclamation have taken place. Swathes of Holland, East Anglia, Frisia, Flanders and Jutland have been formed by digging dykes and dredging seabeds. To prevent these new lands from being subsumed back into the sea, extensive coastal defences are required. This research into the landmass, Doggerland, led me to reapply the process of land reclamation and the sea’s defenses against it, to the Doggerland of artist-led criticality.

The essay mimicked the sea’s defenses against land reclamation applying it to the submergence of artist-led criticality.

Over the course of a month, simultaneous research was conducted on land reclamation processes and its impacts on the Benthic seabed Community whilst considering what the role of artist-led activity had been over-time and what it could potentially become in the future.

This led Holly to a reconsideration of self-sufficiency on whether the self within the independent artistic practice relies on an interaction and dependency with others. A short text was produced and published each week of the residency without a pre-planned conclusion in mind for where the texts would go.

This durational process resulted in a four-part essay of a slightly cylindrical nature formatted as a A2 folded publication. The cover unfolds to mimick the reclaiming of land by the sea.

This project was made possible with the support of a-n.
(C) HOLLY KEASEY 2020 — GO UP︎︎︎