Plastic Pathways: Escaping the Labyrinth

Plastic Pathways: Escaping the Labyrinth

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Arts By the Sea 2017 video opening shot sandcastle labyrinth bottle maze by the pier installation

Arts by the Sea Festival 

Bournemouth, Dorset

14 -21 October 2017

Every year Bournemouth’s Arts By the Sea festival brightens up an otherwise pretty dull October. This year was no exception. The theme was Plastic Oceans and some of the installations and performances reflected ideas around litter and sustainability, especially around the beaches.

Find you way out – or in – of the Labyrinth on the beach by the pier. Walk, run, stomp, jump, laugh or dance your way through. Lead or follow, fast or slow, loudly or quietly – there are games to be played here all afternoon and after dark for all ages.Labyrinths have been used in Europe for around 5,000 years as places to meet, walk, explore, muse, wander, and also to celebrate together. This 10m wide circular labyrinth, with its pathways of sandcastles and recycled, glowing plastics invites you to play and also to ponder – are we really escaping the oceanwide labyrinth of pollution we’ve created for ourselves and our planet? Labyrinth artist Michelle will be on hand to help you find your way – in, through, round… untangle the paths, find your own way, show others, lead on… escape if you can!

The idea was simply to use recycled plastic bottles to help form the sandcastle walls of a large labyrinth that people could join in with – both with building the sandcastles and with walking the pathways and playing games on it. The bottles were dabbed with glowpaint, so that hopefully, as it got dark, the pathways would still be walkable. This location right next to the pier was important to me as I wanted people to be able to look down and take in the whole 11m shape, and also to be able to see it from all sides on the beach itself. I mapped out the shape at about 9am on the day – a seven-path labyrinth with a large spiral centre. I traced the walls in the sand with a bamboo cane and a rake, then planted about 150 plastic bottles at intervals scattered through the design. And then I got a lot of help – there were over 300 sandcastles to build!

Big Thanks go to Asha Kempson, Melinda & Fergus, Adam & Netty, Jane & James, Clare, the Spinneys and everyone who came down to join in and play on the labyrinth.

Panorama shot view from pier of Plastic Pathways - beach labyrinth on the sand for Arts by the Sea festival by artist Michelle Rumney

Plastic Pathways: Escaping the Labyrinth was last modified: July 22nd, 2020 by Michelle Rumney