09 January 2011

1.39 Kilometres of Water

Presenting participant Barry Sykes with a Drakes Island Swim Award badge and certificate.

Presenting participant Penelope Golding with a Drakes Island Swim Award badge and certificate.

On 19/11/10 I performed the act of swimming 1.39 kilometres of water (the exact distance to ‘Drakes Island’, Plymouth), as part of the exhibition —The Sutton Youth Initiative, at The Gallery, Plymouth College of Art.

*The Sutton Youth Initiative presented work by five young artists (also the Directors of Project Space 11), bound together by a formative journey. Through their diverse practices, the group explored a range of responses to this significant collective experience. Over time, the shared event has consciously and subconsciously influenced each artists practice; the shadow of the event becoming mythologized by itʼs repeated referencing in both their individual and collaborative work.

Word of mouth, rumour and visual re-imaginings, not only demonstrate the malleability of oral and visual history,
but also emphasise the concept of myth surrounding The Sutton Youth Initiative.*

The event endeavoured to address the relationship between art and leisure, and honours the legacy of ‘open water’ swimmers in a perhaps farcical way. I collaborated with fashion designer, Jenny Welwert-Gil on a special ‘cod-skin’ swimsuit and cap, as a futile attempt to make me a better and more ‘natural’ swimmer.

I invited the general public to join me in this act, either by swimming or spectating. Those that completed the swim were accredited with a ‘Drakes Island Swim Award’.

This work continues - anyone that completes the distance can be claim the ‘Drakes Island Swim Award’ by contacting me at bryony_kate_gillard@hotmail.co.uk

All photographs credited to Beth Emily Richards

http://e-leven.co.uk/ http://gallery.plymouthart.ac.uk/index.php

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