Jaywick Escapes

Jaywick Escapes

Karen Guthrie and Nina Pope

Read about the artwork

Karen Guthrie and Nina Pope - Jaywick Escapes

  • 2012
  • Film (duration 3 minutes, 28 seconds) and installation
  • Not currently on display
  • Location: Energy Briefing Room, second floor of the Science Museum

Climate Changing Stories is a series of interventions that reveals hidden stories behind some of the Museum’s best-loved exhibits, as well as showcasing artworks from established and emerging artists. It takes a long view of our climate changing world, offering a fresh take on historic inventions and everyday objects, and their impact on the world around us.

Artists Karen Guthrie and Nina Pope’s installation features a specially commissioned edit of their new documentary Jaywick Escapes. Their work captures the evolving history of a small town on a high-flood-risk coastline in Essex. Despite decaying houses, neglected infrastructure and painful local memories of the devastating flood of 1953, Jaywick remains home – albeit a precarious one – for its residents.

Built in the 1930s as a ‘plotland’ holiday town for Londoners from the East End, Jaywick offered a rare, affordable chance to escape from the city. Its flimsy beach huts weren’t intended as permanent homes, but holiday-makers quickly became full-time residents choosing to ignore the constant threat of flooding.

Jaywick seems bound up in the romance of its own past. Guthrie and Pope’s film contrasts the bright, optimistic images from the town’s heyday with today’s reality, and invites us to consider the possible impacts of a climate changing world a little closer to home...

About the artists

British artists Karen Guthrie (born 1970) and Nina Pope (born 1968) live and work in London and the Lake District respectively. After studying together at Edinburgh College of Art they completed MA's in London and began working together in 1995. In 2001 they formalised their collaboration as the not-for-profit arts practice Somewhere, their current work spans public art and film-making, and their focus remains on the widest possible application of creativity to enrich and inform public life.

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