The Exbury Egg will be a temporary, energy efficient self-sustaining work space for artist Stephen Turner in the estuary of the River Beaulieu. It is a place to stay and a laboratory for studying the life of a tidal creek, a collecting and collating centre with integral storage & display areas. It will take on the patina of 730 daily tides below the water line, and 365 days of weathering by wind, rain and bleaching by the sun above.
The Egg will be ‘tethered’ like a boat and will rise and fall with the tide. The light touch and basic nature of the ‘Exbury Egg’ aims to re-appraise the way we live; to properly consider sustainably and future use of natural resources. Stephen Turner is interested in exploring a more empathic relationship with nature which reveals the precious and transcendent in everyday life. The artwork created will stem from Stephen’s occupation, developing through direct experience an understanding of local natural cycles and processes and the relationship of the environment to the narratives of human activity in the unending calendar of seasonal life.
To quote Stephen, ‘Climate change is already creating new shorelines and habitats. Established salt marsh is being eroded by a combination of rising sea levels and falling landmass and the entire littoral environment is in a state of flux. The implications for wildlife and for the flora as well as for people are challenging. Raising awareness of the past and the unfolding present of a very special location will be the task, whist living in an ethical relationship with nature and treading as lightly as possible upon the land.’
The ‘Exbury Egg’ adopts the two key premises of “Lean, Green and Clean” and “Reduce, Reuse and Recycle”. The potential energy requirements during occupation were determined through exploring Stephen’s anticipated daily routines, including a consideration of the variations that would result from seasonal differences. Stephen’s requirements for electricity use including electricity for charging items such as a laptop, digital camera and mobile phone will be met using solar.
This is not a romantic anti-modern back to nature project, where technology is rejected or spurned. Rather it is about demanding the best and most efficient of the new to combine with the tried and tested.
There will be an extensive education programme covering primary age students through to university. Schools will be able to engage with the Egg project throughout its programme, including the construction period, on science, art, ecology and engineering topics. Opportunities for community participation with people of all ages will be offered through a series of events, seminars and workshops once the Egg is in place at the end of May 2013.