background image

Follow the brown signs

uk twitter facebook

100 lonely men looking out to sea

I’ve always been interested in the intriguing figures that stand on Crosby beach just north of Liverpool, so when my boyfriend’s mum told me she’d been to see them recently I thought I’d share them on the blog. They make up the art project by Anthony Gormley (the artist behind The Angel of the North) called Another Place. There are 100 iron statues cast from the artist’s own body dotted over 2 miles of the beach standing at varying distances out to sea and depending on the tide they stand in water or sand, some submerged, some standing proud and naked on the seashore.

I love things that give me the heebie-jeebies and these statues do just that. I think they represent man’s little role in this world and the constant struggle to survive and tame the elements in the vastness of this great natural earth we live on.

I also see them as a lesson in just standing and watching for a while, letting the world hurry on past us and experiencing what it is to feel alone as our unique naked selves. It’s important to remove yourself for awhile, take a step back, to just think, feel and experience where you are and what’s going on around you sometimes, it makes you see life differently and allows you to celebrate your own individuality in this hectic, chaotic world we live in. I think we could all do it more often.

A very good friend of mine, Tony, sets the alarm on his phone for 11.11 (he’s got a thing about numbers) everyday to remind him to do just that. Doesn’t matter what he’s doing, when he hears the alarm he just sits back for a minute truly taking in what he’s doing, what it really means in the context of his life and celebrates his own little place in on the planet. I think it’s a brilliant thing to do, we can all so easily get swept up in the milieux of our ever present deadlines, conversations, reports, kids and all the other thousands of things vying for our attention that taking ourselves out occasionally gives us respite (it’s one of the things my ridiculously insightful psychologist friend Rob Archer¬†talks about a lot in his genius blogs).

More and more we need to pay less attention to what is around us to get by, street lights make sure we can see on our streets, petrol stations are abundant to fill our cars and amazon delivers our books to our doors. I just think that the more we have life easy and need to think less about things to make them happen then the less engaged we become with the world. This doesn’t just have repercussions for things like social integration and mental health I think it could become dangerous. I thought about this the other day when I saw 2 boys of around 15 or 16 gamboling and hooting around along a busy pavement. They weren’t even looking at the people around them or even where they were going. One then decided to cross the road and pulled the other one out along with him. A car which they hadn’t even turned their heads to notice was coming, it swerved hard to avoid them and hooted the horn. They both jumped back but shortly after the shock of nearly getting killed thought it was appropriate to make wanker signs at the driver. At this the man pulled over and got out of the car, he shouted “you didn’t even check to see if anything was coming!” Instead of looking sheepish and apologetic for the stress of nearly causing this man to kill them both they jeered “you should be looking out for us!” The man just got back in the car shaking his head in despair. Maybe people have got so used to not needing to notice or pay attention anymore because so much is done for us, perhaps these boys are just an obvious product of the “progressive” world we live in.

OK, get back to the cast iron Gormley’s on the beach now Amanda… To conclude then dear reader, not only are these statues works of art and interesting to look at, they also beg to be discussed and learnt from. Hopefully they can inspire us to do what they’re doing a little more often and spend time alone being ourselves, properly appreciating and really seeing the world around us (although I find if you refrain from stripping naked while you do it you scare less old ladies and escape being arrested).

The video below explores the statues brilliantly and the shots of the iron men looking out at the vast horizon with the slow turning wind turbines far out to sea in the background sends shivers down my spine. Enjoy.