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Past Presents: On the Verge of Loss, Shoreham’s Roadside Cafe

Part 2 Project 2014
Rebecca Lee
University of Brighton UK
The project is concerned with the relationship between how we ‘write to’ and ‘read from’ a place and the ways we might ‘write about’ and ‘read about’ a place. There is both a spatial and temporal distance, or proximity between these two sets of processes. It could be argued that we are increasingly unaware of the impact of how we ‘write’ perhaps both into and about our environment spending less time ‘reading’ immediately from ‘reality’, instead depending on a mediated version (e.g. google maps). Perhaps we approach the world in a more task-oriented manner where time becomes superficially precious.

The project is concerned with immediacy and an engagement with our present (already immediate past). Narrative is an important tool through which we engage with our surroundings it is intrinsically linked with our processes of communication and memory as well as in processes of recording. The directness of this relationship is key to the project and is studied in detail with Shoreham by Sea as the context.

It is progressively becoming difficult to ‘walk off of the map’ and everywhere is increasingly familiar because if we have not been there physically we have seen a simulated version of the place before on our phones or computers. The project is situated under a flyover on uncharted land. There is no pretext.

The distancing between then and ‘now’ has associated with it ideas of loss. The sense of loss that is characteristic in the processes of nostalgia as a way of connecting past and present suggests an attitude towards the past that is somewhat related to post rationalization. Somehow things become more valuable once they are gone. Without a frequent ‘reading’ or awareness we miss moments that are on the verge of change.

The project addresses, through the language of distance and proximity; discontinuity and continuity; static and motion; loss and change, the way we engage with place. It explores through a variety programmes associated with scales of waiting, the balance between writing/reading into/from and writing and reading about and the way the processes of ‘being’ and representation overlap.

Rebecca Lee


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