Tacita Dean, Disappearance at Sea

I would love to see this work by Tacita Dean, inspired by the story of Donald Crowhurst who went missing during a round the world yacht race. 

I have only seen photos of the work which is a 16mm film of the St Abbs Lighthouse, the beam of light reaching out across the water.  As a viewer in my imagination the light is reaching out across the waves searching for any sign of life or hope. 

Of course it isn’t actively doing anything of the sort: it is a lighthouse, its purpose is to regularly flash its light so that ships on the water can work out where they are relatively to dangerous rocks.  However, that sense of compulsive searching stays with me anyway. 

I have always found the active stillness within Dean’s work inspiring.  The roving searching eye made as an integral part of the Notions of  Truth brief has certainly been partly inspired by this work.

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8 thoughts on “Tacita Dean, Disappearance at Sea

  1. I would also love to see this film, but was delighted when I found that Tacita Dean’s book “Teignmouth Electron” was available …….. I have bought a copy of this book for my son for Christmas, although a bit expensive I know it will be appreciated,

    My son and I accidentally found the ‘Teignmouth Electron’ beached on one the Cays off Jamaica when we lived there in 1974 ………. although all those years ago I can remember the extraordinary feelings experienced when we climbed aboard. As the thoughts of Donald Crowhurst struggling with his schizophrenic experience came to my mind, a strange fear overtook me that this living boat seemed to reflect the difficulties it had witnessed in the Atlantic. It was an experience I have never forgotten and was so pleased to hear of Tacita Dean and her personal involvment with this boat.

    We took photographs all those thirty -six years ago; I am now 76 and my son 46 but “Teinmouth Electron” will always have a profound effect upon me.

    I love your work as displayed in this site and admire your good fortune to have the skill of being able to fly like a bird and see the world from their perspective.

    Sincere regards,

    Peter Hughes

    • Hello Peter,

      I’m currently writing a dissertation for my degree on Tacita Dean’s work based on the sea, which is mainly about the Donald Crowhurst works.

      After reading your comments on the Teignmouth Electron story I wondered if you have the photographs that you took when you found it? It would be very interesting to see them from that long ago, if you would like to share them! 🙂

      It is interesting to find people who are intrigued in this story of human failure, which I think everyone can identify with.

      Jo

      • HELLO JO ….. LOVELY TO HEAR FROM YOU AND FASCINATED BY YOUR DISSERTATION RELATING TO TACITA DEAN’S WORK AND IN PARTICULAR THE INTEREST IN ‘TEIGNMOUTH ELECTRON’ TOGETHER WITH DONALD CROWHURST’S WORK.

        I WILL BE DELIGHTED TO SEND YOU A COPY OF THE PHOTGRAPH OF MY SON, NEIL, AND I STANDING ON THE ‘ T E ‘ ……. IT WILL HAVE TO WAIT UNTIL AFTER THE FESTIVE SEASON NOW I AM AFRAID …… I WILL BE TRAVELLING TO LONDON LATER TODAY TO SPEND CHRISTMAS WITH MY OTHER SON, PHILIP. NEIL WILL BE JOINING US AND AS IT IS HE WHO NOW HAS MY COLLECTION OF PICTURES AND DONALD CROWHURST BOOKS.

        I HOPE THIS WILL NOT BE TOO LATE FOR YOU.

        SINCERE REGARDS AND VERY BEST WISHES

        PETER

      • HELLO JO …… JUST A QUICKY TO CHECK THAT YOU HAVE RECEIVED MY PHOTOS OF TEIGNMOUTH ELECTRON AS I PROMISED …

        REGARDS,
        PETER

    • Hello both of you,

      Peter, that would be fine after christmas time, I would enjoy very much seeing whatever photos of the boat with you and your son you would like to share! My email is: j @ kingdombythesea . com (without all the spaces) for whenever you can send them.

      Carrie, I just stubbled upon your blog during my investigating for my dissertation. It is great to connect with people over such a particular thing. 🙂

      Merry christmas and happy new year to the both of you as well!

      Jo

  2. Funny. I was just trying to locate the film for my blog site. I’m into ship wrecks and rough seas today. Of all things.
    I was lucky enough to sit on my own and watch this beautiful 16mm film many years ago. It was really very beautiful and calming. The sound was consisted of the distant waves, seagulls on the cliffs, and the glassy clinking of the revolving light. The shots were stunning to say the least. During the film which starts before sunset and ends in the dark the light beam pans across the nearby cliff faces, just light a search light. The seagulls are trying to settle. The sea becomes darker as the sky reddens to black. The light ever calling into the abyss. Beautiful. And of course the sound of the 16mm projector ever present. Good luck with your art and hopefully one day you will see the film.
    peace
    dt

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