Folkestone Triennial 2014: Day 1

Reading Dan's blog reminded me that I'd been meaning to see the Triennial, and a quick shout out on Facebook established that Bongo Pete and Way-out Wolfie - surely the world's best tour guides - had booked two nights at the Burlington Hotel. In 2008 I went for the day, which was not enough - and I missed the last one completely, so off we went. They were getting there in Chris and Judy's motor car, so the idea was to travel by train with Pete's sister Sarah. Except… there were two rail fatalities on Thursday morning cancelling my connecting train from London Road to Lewes, so I jumped on a Brighton train and arrived only to see the 10.32 Ashford diesel pulling out! So, it was back on the train to Lewes, another to Hastings and I ended up on the one I would have caught an hour later from Brighton. At Folkestone Central at last I walked past two pieces of art without noticing (Look Out!) on the way to a bus stop. From the bus station I headed for the top of the Road of Remembrance where I bumped into Sarah!

Knitted poppies

At the harbour, we saw our first art - Gabriel Lester's The electrified line, a bamboo observation tower straddling the old railway lines. But first we had coffee and toasted teacakes at The Hatch cafe, where we failed to spot our first Pent House, where the lost River Pent pours into the sea. The Host at the bamboo deck was very helpful (all the hosts we met were friendly and informative), pointing out all the other art we'd missed. But where were Pete and Lisa?

Gabriel Lester: The electrified line

After popping along to the deserted station to see the neon Tim Etchells Is why the place, we had a quick token dig on the sandy beach to find the gold bars Michael Sailstorfer had buried, to no avail and found our way to the Visitor Centre at the bottom of Tontine Street, where I recommend you watch the short videos so you'll know what to look out for (also keep an eye out for the green triangles). Here we were joined by Pete, Lisa, Chris and Judy and we all went to examine the second Pent House (Diane Dever and Jonathan Wright) - a big wooden water tower you could climb into.

 Pent House

Further up the street was a small wild garden, the site of a WW1 bombing raid that killed 60 people and destroyed the bakery there. Here was Amina Menia's Undélaissé ghost signs, right next door to a decorative pub turned art school annexe. And then it was across the road to the Andy Goldworthy pop-up gallery. It was almost 5 pm and everywhere was closing, but we managed to see Something & Son's Amusefood, a self-contained recycling 'farm' for producing fish, chips and mushy peas hydroponically, sadly not yet available to eat!  After a pint or two of Harvey's at the Guildhall, it was a long stroll to the cliff-top hotel, and thence out to The Meze House nearby for a delicious Greek supper.

Something and Son: Amusefood

The Folkestone Triennial runs until 2 November.

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