The Hover Project
a performance essay in a landscape
After twenty years of producing work in response to urban architecture and the build environment Forster & Heighes plan to turn their attention to a post industrial coastal landscape, examining its shifting form, its histories, evocative nature, and how over time it shapes and defines the character of the communities that inhabit and pass through it.
The chosen landscape, Pegwell Bay in Kent, and in particular the abandoned hovercraft port found there, is situated on a stretch of coast between the towns of Ramsgate and Sandwich. A vast curved natural inlet of sea, sand, shingle, marsh and chalk cliff Pegwell exists physically, and in the imagination, as a liminal, constantly reforming, in-between place - a place in constant process, vanishing and remerging: a landscape in performance.
Pegwell Bay has throughout its history been a point of invasion, exodus and exploration. Roman, Viking and Norman hordes have dragged themselves up its shoreline, and the same gentle incline allowed St Augustine and his followers to bring in Christianity in AD 597. Centuries later steam packets and the hovercraft took exiles and pleasure seekers out across the Channel to the continent, with shrimpers, fossil hunters, painters, ornithologists, wind farm engineers, and economic regenerators following on, each in their own time and on their own terms leaving a mark on the place.
This arc of activity across deep geological time, universal human time, 'space' time, compressed and future time has combined to create the expansive enigma that is Pegwell today. These notions of time, allied with the processes of erosion, incursion, transportation, transcendence and translation, plus uses ecological, economic and recreational, have combined to provide a rich thematic silt from which Hover SRN4, a landscape performance project can take flight
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