call to participate: backwater republic

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CALL TO PARTICIPATE: BACKWATER REPUBLIC
a place to think
to join the voyage: contact Gair Dunlop on 07896 008396 or [email protected]
THE AIM
New understandings of the estuarine context of the city, explored through play, reclamation of
the river as a nervous system, and a realization of transience as a life-enhancing experience.
THE PROCESS
Up to twelve participants will be asked to commit themselves to living for 36+ hours on a small
island, where they are invited to think about the relation of inner personal space to outer
geographical space. A flag will be raised on the island in advance of the group arrival: it will
symbolise the productive gap between inner and outer space within which we live. A few
exercises involving concentration and using time in meditative ways will be suggested but not
compulsory. The project will be advertised widely in advance, and priority will be given for half
of the places to non-artists. Self-selection of participants is subject to strong caveats on
fitness, preparedness and access to suitable equipment. Due to the windswept nature of the
island, it will be necessary for participants to bring sufficient clothing, and to be willing to
undergo a degree of physical exertion. The flag will be left on the island at the conclusion of
the weekend.
Participants will not be there to make or to do, but to relax, observe and to listen. The lack of
directed activity is important; what will people decide to do? What can they do? A few
specialists may be invited, such as poets and writers and geographers.
One requirement only: that there will be an hourly live video communiqué sent via
smartphone, which will over the time period build into a record of the time spent on the island.
This will be received in the city at the urban focus of the whole festival - Baxter Park. A web
page will be built which can automatically archive and update them.
THE SITE
Lucky Scalp (East of Tayport)
A small exposed shingle bar, reaching to a height of 6 feet above high tide level, once
crowned with a folly (demolished in 1979), reachable by foot at low tide. A fishing bothy
existed on the island until about 1860.
There is a sheltered sandy inner beach, with the shingle bank taking away much of the force
of the wind. The crest of the island is green vegetation and stones, treeless.
expedition flag: Inner and Outer Space
LOGISTICS
In advance: flag will be printed and sewn, rudimentary flagpole erected in the shingle with guy
rope bracing.
Food arranged and collected. Communications equipment tested.
Saturday 11th August EARLY a.m.
Participants will assemble at an arranged point for pickup by boat. It will introduce them to the
expanded sense of the situation of the city which is available from the river and its
connections to the world. Arrival at Lucky Scalp mid-morning. The day will include hourly
transmission of short video films to Baxter Park.
The participants will carry the necessities for an overnight stay for the whole group: tents,
bedding, food and water.
Sunday 12th August
If practical, a boat will pick us up in the evening. If impractical, we walk off the island across
the sands to edge of Tayport for minibus transport back to Dundee.
A shared experience seminar will subsequently be held at DCA; experiences will be
compared, and differences in re-entry to the urban flow will be discussed. Can these potential
insights into the quiet places near us affect our sense of place radically? In a period where the
renewal of the city is loudly trumpeted, can a different form of renewal be possible?
HEALTH AND SAFETY CONSIDERATIONS
Waterproof containers containing 2 emergency mobile phones will be kept with the group at
all times.
Participants will have to self-declare their understanding that the environment of the Scalp
may be physically challenging.
Participants will need to prove their tent and clothing is adequate for wind and rain cover;
local outdoor groups can be approached in the event of unsatisfactory equipment .
A registered first-aider will be taken as part of the group.
Advice will be taken in advance from Coastguard and Met Office weather forecasters. In the
event of unseasonably extreme weather, the camp will be re-sited or postponed. (Alternative
sites could include Mugdrum Island, Newburgh, or Barry Sands.)
The inner beach is somewhat sheltered from the winds, and tents should be erected on the
lea side of the ridge.
Supplies of water, food, stoves and eating equipment will be checked in advance.
A shovel for sanitary facilities will be brought.
A pre-expedition will erect a flagpole; the flag will be raised on arrival.
Lucky Scalp, looking westwards towards Tayport.
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