This Monday the 21st was the launch of artist Katie Paterson’s project ‘Streetlight Storm’ in Deal (a seaside town in Kent). Paterson uses scientific data to inform installations of sensual interest. In this case, the lights on Deal pier will come on and off according to meteorological data on lightning storms the world over. Her previous projects have included installing a direct telephone line to a melting glacier and sending the Moonlight Sonata to the moon via the medium of Morse code.
In keeping with my love of all things regional, I recruited a travelling companion , donned some heavy-duty winter gloves and a DVD-camcorder and booked a train ticket to Deal. Unfortunately, we got as far as Faversham (where the French tourists migrating back to France were told on the platform that the port of Dover had been closed) before we knew getting to Deal would become severely tricky. We hopped on board a resting London-bound train to sip hot chocolate in the warmth of the stationary carriage whilst emotions ran high on the opposite platform.
We amused ourselves with Deal-related puns (orDeal , it’s my iDeal, i heard that Deal pier came in under budget, hoho! etc) and made a generic featurette on the theme of alienation set on the deserted platform of Ramsgate station (where we decided to turn back for London a mere 20 mins from Deal, almost certainly having missed the talk and also due to the ropeyness of the connecting service).
So no Deal on this occassion. I hope to see Streetlight Storm in a few weeks time. It wasn’t a disaster. National Rail have refunded me on far more tenuous grounds before (“I decided not to go.”) Touring the stations of Kent in the middle of a glorious period of harsh, cold, snowy weather with a consolation curry on the slippery ice-covered Brick Lane afterwards is what I would consider a good day’s work.
Merry Christmas all!