FolkestoneJack's Tracks

Folkestone Triennial 2014

Posted in England, Folkestone by folkestonejack on September 14, 2014

Over the last decade Folkestone has been undergoing a quite remarkable transformation, underpinned by the continuous efforts of the Creative Foundation. The achievements of this visionary arts charity include the remarkable regeneration of the Old High Street and Tontine Street, which seemed to be set on an irreversible path of decay not so very long ago. Every time I return to Folkestone I am struck by their progress and the creation of a wonderful artistic community.

One of the most delightful projects undertaken by the Creative Foundation is their public art project, the Folkestone Triennial, which returned for a third time on 30th August 2014 and runs until 2nd November 2014. The exhibition of art installations is the most ambitious yet. Better still, this continues to help build up a permanent collection of artworks around the town (sadly some artworks are only on show for the duration of the triennial).

The electrified line (Cross-track observation deck) by Gabriel Lester

The electrified line (Cross-track observation deck) by Gabriel Lester

I made the trip down this weekend and checked out the artworks, armed with a handy pocket sized map (copies available from the volunteers around town, at the railway station and at the visitor centre in Tontine Street). The theme of this triennial is ‘Lookout’ which takes an eye to the future.

The exhibits are incredibly diverse, ranging from an experiment in food production through to a series of Manhattan style water towers following the course of the Pent stream (the underground river beneath Folkestone’s streets). You can even join the exhibits by getting yourself scanned in 3d (for a charge) at Strange Cargo’s Georges House Gallery in The Old High Street.

I particularly loved the whithervanes, five headless chicken sculptures on Folkestone’s rooftops, which track the spread of fear on the internet (through realtime monitoring of alarmist keywords in newsfeeds). The whithervanes revolve away from the geographic source of each story. At night coloured lighting indicates the intensity of fear, though it must have been an unusually calm night at the time of our visit as the whithervanes were glowing green.

One of five whithervanes in Folkestone for the triennial

One of five whithervanes in Folkestone for the triennial

Another highlight of the trip was Pablo Bronstein’s rather charming Beach hut in the style of Nicholas Hawksmoor, which the artist feels should help remedy the lack of English baroque architecture on the south coast. It was a delightful reminder that art can be fun.

It was the first windy day in a week, which gave us the perfect opportunity to try Marjetica Potrč’s wind lift. This installation features a 25 metre high passenger lift, attached to the railway viaduct, which is entirely powered by a wind turbine. The number of rides possible is determined entirely by the amount of energy harvested.

The wind lift by Marjetica Potrč and Ooze Architects

The wind lift by Marjetica Potrč and Ooze Architects

I am certainly biased, but I think the Folkestone Triennial makes for an extremely enjoyable day out and is simply perfect when combined with lunch at the eateries around Folkestone Harbour and Old High Street.



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