Seeking to adapt his personality (hopefully for the better) the artist attempts to swim Coniston Water in the Lake District.

With the support of friends, and a South Westerly wind, will he make it? And more importantly, will he change his ways?

Find out on Saturday 1st September at the Panama Swimming Club in Whitley Bay.

Lake Swim will be presented at 6.15pm, 7pm and 8pm.


Join the artist for a swim in the afternoon, between 2 and 4pm, at Whitley Bay, on the beach in front of the Panama Swimming Club. There'll be hot chocolate, biscuits, and top tips on changing in public! Come along, find out what motivates people to plunge into the sea, and share your stories about swimming outdoors.




Lake Swim is presented as part of Arthouses. Lake Swim was made with funding and other support from Arts Council England and Kowboj International and produced by Superkrush Films.

Special thanks to Neill Sheasby, Tracey Tofield, and the Panama Swimming Club.

 

 

Project Report

In the afternoon four of us went for a swim in the sea. We are all Panama Swimming Club members. I'm their newest member; member number 30.

Later we were joined by a further five people, two of whom are also members.

Johnny (sp?) went for a swim on his own. The rest of us sat together eating biscuits and drinking hot chocolate. The conversation was mostly swimming related. The hot chocolate was a bit weak.




Five people, friends and colleagues, arrived for the 6.15pm presentation, all of whom had RSVP'd.

Thirteen people, and one dog (a labradoodle), attended the 7pm presentation.

Eight people attended the 8pm presentation.

A couple of groups of people, some swimming club members, arrived around 8.45pm, so I screened the film again without the performative elements. Seventeen people experienced the work in this way.

In total on Saturday 1st September 2012 fifty-two people participated in and/or experienced the work.

At the end of the evening artist Neill Sheasby kindly took some photographs of the space.

Later in the evening I enjoyed watching the second half of The Life Aquatic screened upstairs at the Panama Swimming Clubhouse, and mostly attended by club members.

On Sunday 2nd September 2012 I performed Lake Swim one final time, at 6.15pm. I was joined by artists Kate Sweeney and Frances Arnold, and towards the end of the film we were joined by two more people.

Kate also took some photos.

I then looped the film on DVD for the remainder of the evening so I could visit some of the other Arthouses venues. A further thirty people viewed the work, making a grand total of eighty-six over the two days.

Artist John Quinn provided some critical feedback through Facebook:
"...loved your piece/performance. Great having you/your presence there and watching the film in the perfect place for it. Liked the endurance element that we all shared - I began to think how long is this going on ...? the sound added to the build up of tension then the release. I liked the close ups of water and swimmer, that really got me closer to how it feels swimming on and on. My wife thought it was like being IN a Tarkovsky film ...... Having us involved, like the boat crew connected it all together as well - some minor grumbles - the slide to film switch over and the cross fade when you get out of the water.... loved the hot chocolate and biscuit got us in the right mood and set the scene very well."

In Poland, artist Martin Blaszk swam in Lake Wdzydze at same time as the swim in Whitley bay, on the afternoon of 1st September, capturing his thoughts in this document. He also made a short, silent film, which I hope to see soon.

And on Thursday 20th September Martin and I went for a swim together. His daughter took some photos.

 

Project Budget Summary

1. Rear Projection Screen Material, supplier Stage Electrics: £31.56
2. White Gaffer Tape, supplier Stage Electrics: £3.36
3. Blackout Fabric, supplier 1st For Fabrics Ltd: £10
4. Beach Mat Fabric, supplier 1st For Fabrics Ltd: £30
5. Beach Mat Sewing, supplier M G Clothing Alterations, North Shields: £20
6. Projector Cables, supplier Currys PC World: £29.97
7. Audio Cable, supplier Maplin: £11.99
8. Biscuits & Hot Chocolate, supplier Co-Op: £10 (approximately)

Total cost: £146.88

 

Project Delivery Time Spent

Wednesday 8th August 2012, meet with event organiser Tracey Tofield: 2.25 hours
Tuesday 21st August 2012, meet with event organiser Tracey Tofield: 1.5 hours
Friday 24th August 2012, meet with Neill Sheasby (event support), visit space, swim: 3 hours
Saturday 25th August 2012, produce web page, email link to mailing list: 1.5 hours
Wednesday 29th August 2012, buy 'beach towel' material and drop-off at clothing alterations shop: 0.5 hours
Thursday 30th August 2012, collect back projection material: 0.25 hours
Friday 31st August 2012, install work and test: 5.5 hours
Friday 31st August 2012, collect projector leads from Star and Shadow Cinema: 0.75 hours
Saturday 1st September 2012, collect projector and audio leads: 1 hour
Saturday 1st September 2012, present work: 8.5 hours
Sunday 2nd September 2012, present work: 2 hours
Monday 3rd September 2012, dismantle installation: 1.5 hours

Total time spent: 28.25 hours (3 days, 5 hours and 45 minutes)

Analysis of time spent:
Planning and preparation: 16.25 hours (2 days, 1 hour and 15 minutes) = 58%
Presentation: 10.5 hours (1 day and 3 hours) = 37%
Dismantle: 1.5 hours = 5%

 

Reflections

Highlights

1. Working with Neill: We share an interest in art and an interest in open water swimming. It was enjoyable to have someone to share the experience with. Neill is also a highly skilled joiner and made the frame that enabled me to successfully back project in the space. Neill also welcomed guests on Saturday evening, which freed me up to focus on presenting and performing the work. Neill also videoed the performance element of the piece and took some photographs (see above, second set of photographs).

2. Resolving how to show the piece in the space: It was an interesting but awkward space to present the work in. Before seeing the space I had envisaged simply using a projector and screen. This wouldn't have worked, primarily due to the small scale of the space, and the close proximity to the audience. This pushed me to innovate a more ambitious solution, using back projection. This is my first experience of using back projection material. I was very pleased with the result.

3. Unexpected critical feedback from artist John Quinn: I really appreciated John's comments (see main report, above), which came to me via Facebook. It reminded me how infrequently I get considered critical feedback on my work.

4. Unexpected resonance with artist Martin Blaszk: I was amazed to find out that at the same time as I was swimming in the sea at Whitley Bay (see main report, above) Martin was swimming in Lake Wdzydze in Northern Poland, and that this event inspired him to reflect on his own interest in open water swimming. Meeting and swimming with Martin a few weeks later (see main report, above) continued this dialogue. Next year I hope to visit Martin in Gdansk and swim Lake Wdzydze, perhaps together.

5. Finally joining the Panama Swimming Club: I've walked past the clubhouse many times, noting the swim times and phone number. It was great to finally have a compelling reason to join, and I now enjoy the possibility of swimming every week with people who share the compulsion to jump in the North Sea.

 

Lowlights

Sourcing long projector and audio cables: The late identification of the need for these, coupled with the difficulty sourcing them at short notice, led to some last minute running around on the days of the event (Saturday and Sunday mornings).