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The following is an introduction to the KYST project – the last few blog entries from 2018 can be seen here KYST blog. See also updated Facebook and Instagram posts.
KYST (‘Coast’) is the name for a project I undertook in 2018. Starting on Friday the 5th of January, and continuing on every Friday throughout the year thereafter, I walked around the island – my home island – of Bornholm.
The project took the form of a series of 52 consecutive walking tours following Bornholm’s coastline, one for each week of the year, with each walk no more than two or three kilometres. Each week I started the walk from the same spot where I finished the week before. The concluding walk in the last week of the year (Friday, December the 28th) took me right back to where I started – the pier arms of Rønne harbour, Bornholm’s point of entry and exit.
Each walk began at dawn and ended at dusk. During each journey I moved slowly – clockwise – along the coastline and observed and recorded my experiences as I went. I sketched, painted and drew, gathered and built, with the aim of making some sort of physical record of my journey on that particular day, on that particular stretch of the coastline.
During the course of the journey, I passed through rocky, deserted shores, sandy tourist-filled beaches, small fishing villages, and built-up areas of modern housing. On some of the journeys I was alone, on others surrounded by people. In midsummer I was out for over 18 hours, in midwinter, considerably less.
KYST is a journey through time and space, a voyage of discovery and exploration, with Bornholm as a gigantic clock face, sundial or calendar. Each walk was a story of a day, of the changing weather patterns and tidal flows and the rising and setting of the sun. By physically moving through the landscape I moved through periods of geological time, in some places passing through millions of years with just a few steps.
At other places I passed through historical time, through Bornholm’s social history, weaving between the present and the past. The flora and fauna that I encountered revealed the progression of the seasons through the year. The arrival and departure of migratory birds, the flowering and wilting of vegetation, even the coming of the tourist hordes, all tell a story of my journey through the year and around the island.
Most of all, however, the weather decided how each walk unfolded. Each journey is a unique event, and the work I produced will be a reflection and accumulation of my experiences through the day. I had no hard and fast objectives regarding how and what I will be recording other than the fact that everything will be completed within the arena of the walk on the day in question. The body of work that I produced then, not only recorded and reflected my physical journey through time and space, but also the development of my creative response to the project itself.
I am fascinated by the process of observation and the way in which the physical act of looking – really looking – creates a deep physiological connection between ourselves and our environment. I am equally fascinated in how we respond creatively to this process of observation, and the relationship between the objective physical act of observation and the subjective act of interpretation. And I am deeply fascinated in how this process unfolds within the natural environment and the passing of time and space.
For many years now I have been creating projects or creative structures within which I can examine these themes that interest me. I have been thinking about this project in one form or other for most of the time I have lived on Bornholm and now, with the passing of my ten year anniversary in the summer of 2018, seems to be a perfect time.
It is important to me that the project has a collaborative dimension and the work produced during the 52 days of KYST was collated and presented as the project unfolded. On the day itself, I uploaded images on my Instagram account. On this website I posted a blog/report after each stage of the journey. I uploaded images from the day on to my public Facebook account. The Google map I have created below will be updated after each journey.
In 2019 I produced a book and an exhibition about my experiences. Throughout 2019, the KYST exhibition traveled to Svaneke (Denmark), Aberlady (Scotland), Holt (England) and Allerød (Denmark). Some examples of the KYST paintings can be seen on the blog and also in the Adventures Gallery.