Thursday, November 8, 2007

Beachcombing and chance

Looking for stray objects washed up by the swell on an abandonned seashore at dusk can be a magical ritual. You're probably hungry, after a whole day at the beach; the sun has set and the sea is getting darker, the waves are getting bigger, gulls are screaming and you're wondering if a huge strange fish stranded on the sand is something you should take with you in your plastic bag or not. Some invisible force makes you want to look everywhere, and for more: find more love letters forgotten under the sand, more nautical maps stuck under a piece of wood or more debris from cargo boats with amazing typography on them.

I started doing this on Kolybithra bay on the island of Tinos. I expanded my activities on more islands and beaches and collected about a thousand of them in a period of five years and an amazing photographer, Yiannis Hadjiaslanis photographed them on a white studio backdrop. Then we paired them in funny or just nice ways and now a little book is out - called "flotsam & jetsam". Three hundred of these objects parade the book's spreads and, disintegrated as they are by the sea and the sun, they look like "artefacts from a distant alien civilisation" as a friend artist, Zachos Varfis, told me. There's also some great texts in it - the Ian Jeffrey one is a typical academic tour-de-force. I love this book and this project, and i wonder now, now that the project is done, will I ever look again for more of these objects? Or will they forever remain unwanted garbage on the dunes of Kolybithra?

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