Wednesday, 16 May 2012

A Phantom Landscape

My grandfather was a local artist who painted numerous scenes of Whitby throughout the 1960's and 70's. He would use photographs as an aid to help him when composing his pictures.

These three images show the cliffs to the east and west of Whitby harbour as they appeared in May 1970.

Geological studies conducted in the area have shown that an estimated minimum of 0.2 metres of local coastline are lost each year through erosion, which means that since these photographs were taken at least 8.2 metres of cliff have disappeared.

Islandology - Jo Moore

In our thoughts, a coastline is just that - a solid, unbroken, fixed and immovable line. As islanders, this is how our territory is delineated, how our world is mapped out; we know of a beginning and we know of an end; all is bounded & familiar in scope. But it is not like this at all; the coastline is not a fixed and permanent thing, but a shifting, fluxing, transient space, permeable and inconstant, ever eroding, ever morphing, changing shape. A dotted line, porous and flexible. A liminal space; neither land nor sea. A place of tension, characterised by an uneasy harmony of opposites.

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