From the city to the sea

Ben Halsall

"From the City to the Sea" was recorded in January 2006 whilst traveling from Leeds to Saltburn-by-the-Sea on a winter surfing trip to the cold, North-East coast of England. The image is produced from a single shot of video documenting the entire journey. Formed by taking a single slice from each frame of the video, the temporal matrix is transposed to the x-axis of the final image: creating a 16 metre continuous record of the journey.

"From the city to the Sea" explores our relationship with cities through the act of departure and eventual arrival at a distant place. The shifting landscapes of this image are at times familiar, while at others form abstract shapes that seem to bear no relation to the actual journey.

"Are the journeys that we make only a means of getting from one place to another? The daily journey to work, the trip made to get to a holiday destination, the journey abroad that takes us far away from our friends and families, the forbidden journey to escape something we fear. Through each of these journeys that we take many meanings travel which in turn form ways we come to define ourselves.

Many emotions are experienced during the journeys that we make; through every departure, every arrival and during the act of traveling itself. The relationships we have with our travel companions are both personal and collective. Our relationship to urban spaces that most of us inhabit are also played out through the collective experience of daily travel. Alongside this, advertising billboards, travel agents' shop windows and other mass media communicators tell us of places where we can escape to.

The act of being on the road, of passing through this transitory space, offers much time for reflection and transformation. No single image can capture all that is experienced within any journey. Through the omissions and distortions in this work the viewer will now see the familiar spaces of a journey re-structured.