Sunday 24 May 2009

Review: The Sound of the Silent Coast

The sea is England's natural barrier and has helped keep out invading forces many times.

While on holiday, I visited a wonderful exhibition of photography and an art installation called Barriers South at The Crypt Gallery, in Seaford, East Sussex.

It is part of a series of exhibitions using photography, projection, installation and sound, in five venues along the south coast - Eastbourne Redoubt, Newhaven Fort, the Crypt Gallery, Seaford, Spitbank Fort and Hurst Castle. Each has been used as a place of fortification in times of war.

The exhibition is intended to show how this has affected the landscape, people and surrounding area - but to me it seemed something more than that, something evocative of the power and magic of the sea and our use of the coast as a natural boundary and protection to keep out our enemies and against the elements.

The exhibition in Seaford is in two parts. The first part visitors see consists of a series of photographic prints in a modern gallery. The images show various areas of the south coast but are startlingly varied - sunsets over the ocean, crumbling Napoleonic fortifications, interiors of WW2 bunkers, close-ups of metal panels, rails and fixings rusted and pitted by exposure to salt water and photographs taken at a modern rave in an abandoned offshore military structure.

The second part of the exhibition is an art installation, with slides and sound in the galleries' downstairs medieval crypt. It is a wonderfully atmospheric setting and it is easy to just sit there and become immersed in the show - recordings of the sea and coast played out of context with images displayed against the crypt wall and ceiling, that take the pictures in upstairs gallery further.

Although Barriers South is an art display rather than a pagan event, I think it would fascinate anyone who feels the magic of the sea.

The exhibition at the Crypt Gallery, Seaford, is free to enter and runs until Saturday, May 30. Exhibitions at other venues are on until 26 July. It was put together by photographers and artists Dan Bernard and Gail Baird of 131 Design. For more details of Barriers South, visit For details of other events visit my events page at

If you know of any events and want them listed on A Bad Witch's Blog, email me at or leave a comment below.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Hi Badwitch.. Thank you for that lovely review... it really does mean a lot to us when people take the time to say such lovely things..

Dan and Gail... Barriers South

we will be exhibiting Barriers UK this spring.. with a wider more expansive show..we will keep you posted