THIS immersive maritime experience is an enjoyable and innovative way to connect with the history of our coast and to consider the perils of a life lived so close to deep water.
The audience feels like participants from the outset as we cast off aboard vessels heading into the changing tide, listening to music and recordings about the port of Shoreham and unknown dangers. The name Five Short Blasts encapsulates this threat, meaning “I am not sure of your intentions and fear we may collide”.
Stories told through the recordings included the work of lifeguards, fishing at Shoreham, relatives lost at sea and night-time dives. Maritime warnings such “man overboard” are interspersed throughout. The audience listens for 50 medi tative minutes as the boat travels out to sea, gently buffeted by the turquoise waves.
Five Short Blasts is a beautiful and enjoyable installation but it suffers somewhat from a series of mismatches which prove hard to bridge. The work was designed specifically for Shoreham and the artists admit the last minute change to Brighton Marina was a challenge but they told me they feel they are “bringing a little bit of Shoreham to Brighton”.
This change opens new creative possibilities whereby we can consider the contrast between the fishing-dependent seascape of Shoreham being described and the more cosmopolitan view of Brighton. However, some uncomfortable contrasts in the experience itself make it harder to connect with the installation.
We pass the pleasure boats of Brighton Marina in a warm, comfy boat of our own and are given biscuits and tea. The truth is that Brighton, unlike Shoreham, is not dependent on a port and the sea for its way of life.
Freya Marshall Payne