Hannah Fasching brings the Intertidal Cinema to the London Design Festival

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Hannah Fasching finished her studies on the BA Design course at Goldsmiths this year; her graduation project “The Intertidal Cinema” attracted quite a bit of attention and praise, and so it will now have a sequel- Hannah will tell us more about it herself:

What are you up to at the moment?

Hannah: I’m working on a project for the London Design Festival, it’s an extension of the project I did this year. At the moment we’re filming areas within Deptford, which will be part of a film installation on Deptford Creek. The film tells a narrative of place through a conversation with the architecture itself to create a portrait of the urban landscape through the sites connected to how Deptford developed as a Dock. We have been interviewing people in and around Deptford, people who grew up there, live there and work there, but also people involved with how it’s changing. In the film I am using these voices to animate various sites in Deptford, so the physical space takes on the voice of the social. This event will take place on the 13th of September for three nights. It’s an extension of the Intertidal Cinema in the sense that it will take place on the tidal creek and hopefully we will have people standing in the intertidal zone which goes down into the creek, and on the bridge watching a projection in intertidal space.

How did you get to be a part of the festival?

I won the ArtISA award designed to give students a chance to develop the project you’ve been working on for a year into something for the London Design Festival. The ArtISA charity arrange for you to take part in Festival, it’s an optional thing, they give you the funding to carry on with the project and then the option to be part of the LDF, you can opt out of that and just develop a project, but it’s seems logical to want to be part of that, it’s exciting, it’s a big event.

Can you remind us what your Intertidal Cinema project was about?

The Intertidal Cinema was a project that looked at the relationship between humans and the temporary spaces provided by nature. The project took place in Burnham-on-Sea, on the beach, on the intertidal zone, in the space between the high and low tide. What I did was project a film along the sea wall, which spans 2 km along the coastline of Burnham-on-Sea, with footage shot in the 1930s, before the wall was built, of the activities that used to happen on the beach, when they used to ride bicycles, sports activities, and the seafront was really a rich cultural hub. And by projecting that footage between the people and the beach, it’s giving an insight into how the relationship has changed since the wall was built in the 1980’s.

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Why did you choose Burnham-on-Sea?

I started looking into the Somerset flooding that happened after Christmas and I was investigating flood defenses in and around Somerset, so I found the sea wall through that, and then I went there and it was a really striking piece of architecture which acts as a barrier between the urban and the natural. By developing an idea around showing that separation of two things happening, the Intertidal Cinema developed.

Was it hard to set up in terms of local authorities?

I had to get a license from the council, it was quite difficult in the time that I had, and to publicise it. I also had a cap on the number of people that could be there in terms of being covered by the insurance. The aim was never to have hundreds of people down on the beach, but to have just enough people for it to be a social event.

 What was the local reaction?

There was a point where the tide came in and swept away our sign out on the beach, and that was a nice point when everyone was just watching slowly, falling into the water. It was this ephemeral thing that happened. After the screening of the film, a lot of local people were talking about how amazing the space was and how more things should happen there. I didn’t have the impression that people felt like that before. And there have been a lot of casualties, tragedies, especially on the beach area, where people have lost their lives, because it’s a dangerous place, so there’s almost like a sense of fear around that place. It’s changed some people’s perceptions about that area, it was really important.

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How was your project received at the graduation show?

I think it was a topic that people could really engage with, in the sense that everyone’s been following what’s happening in the news with the floods, and climate change, and how powerful it can be. But also, doing a social event, I think people are quite inclined to…take an interest in something that happened and be able to see it through a film, that I had in the show.

When will your project be on at the Design Festival?

The 13th of September. The aim is for it to be an intimate thing with friends and family and people from Goldsmiths, but also the community in Deptford. So it will be interesting to see how many people turn up, and I think the first night will be quite a big turnout, with people coming in, but it’s also quite late in the evening due to the tidal times…You have to work around these things.

(Interview by Nadia Barbu. Images courtesy of Hannah Fasching)

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