'....And The I Returned It To The Sea' was installed at Oriel y Parc in St Davids. The exhibition was curated by Bryony Dawkes and included a selection of works exploring the coast from the collection of the National Museum.
Ghost stories communicate something of a time and place. A collective fear. A collective fantasy. A desire to connect with or create a community. They are intangible artefacts; history.
In 1999 I began to construct an archive of ghost stories from the coast of Britain. I was interested in the way that they communicated something specific about the locale, and something universal about the precariousness of life by the sea, the overwhelming power of nature, the finality of death and our desire to transcend it.
The oral tradition means that these stories have a circularity to them. I wanted to return these stories to the sea, to invite intervention in the ongoing narrative by introducing the possibility of connecting with a stranger in an unknown land - someone who might discover the story and add the prefix to their own telling: “… I was walking along the beach one day and I found a bottle. Inside it was a message. The message was a ghost story from….”
In order to make the stories seem objective, factual- as they would have done when originally told, I re-wrote them as modern day newspaper articles, then my sister and I went on a ten day drive around the coast of Britain. At each ‘haunted’ beach we stopped the car and took two Polaroid photos. The first we kept as documentation, or proof, the second we put in the bottle along with the newspaper article. We threw the bottle into the sea, to be taken away by the tide and delivered into the hands of an unknown stranger.