Colin Priest
The Dance of the Neptune Plant

Saturday 7 June 2014

Whitstable Library & Library Lecture Hall

This film takes as its inspiration from the Neptune Plant, otherwise known as White Weed, Air Fern or Sea Fir. It is a ‘plant’ specific to the Kent coast, which has been harvested for centuries by fishermen near the estuary and distributed at the harbor, initiating a temporal cottage industry of cleaning, bunching and dying for sale inland for aquariums. Fine in structure, the plant is in fact a species of marine animal – the dried skeletal colonies of hydroids, the chambers where the polyps lived. The film, which uses selected dances as its soundtrack from All in a Garden Green composed by romantic Kent-born John Jenkins in 1650 and performed by local cellist Matthew Roberts, presents this peculiar organism as an evanescent character, bridging animal and vegetal existence for everyone to contemplate. Within the library there will also be a shelf of books selected by the artist related to the research.