".....And Then I Returned It To The Sea".

Sept 2001-2002


Process TEXT
"…And Then I Returned It To The Sea" was steeped in the process and traditions of storytelling and the Romantic idea of the sea. Over one year I researched and collected 50 ‘true’ ghost stories from around the coast of Britain. These narratives were then returned to the sea, each from its respective beach via a bottle. The action of returning the story to the sea started a potential process of storytelling. The unknown finder could re-tell the ghost story affixing "I found a message in a bottle…" to the start of the tale. The story may then be re-told through an unknown network of people- or it may lay unfound on a beach or spend years lost at sea. The absent finder is the subject of the work. Through the exhibition of each bottles launch into the wilderness and documentation of its contents the viewer is left to imagine the finder and their response to the object.

Telling ghost stories is a way of gathering people, of inviting a group of people to imagine something otherworldly and spectral. All the ghost stories I used were historically valid in that they were recorded in books or on the Internet, written down as truth. The world is however divided as to whether ghosts exist. The work therefore intervenes in the process of how we make things true through the recording of information and questions the fabric and principles of recorded truth.

The issue of truth and historic validity is fundamental to the project. Each story that I found was re-written as a newspaper article and photo-shopped into a real newspaper adding another layer of validity to the text but also a layer of confusion. When found as an isolated case on the beach the finder may take the object on face value and be touched by the oddity of the experience yet once seen as a multiple in the gallery space the magic is replaced by a suspision of the artifacts validity and truth.

"….And Then I returned it to the sea" was funded by the ACW