Introduction The lookout is integral to Folkestone's history as a port. A lookout is a structure from which to keep watch - for invasion, for weather, for fish, fortune or friends coming home. A lookout is also the person keeping watch, who can tell us what's coming over the horizon.
Either way, a lookout is focused on the future. And in this exhibition, the figure of the lookout stands for the artist – because the artist's act of imagination always involves change, and proposes change.
The dynamo of Folkestone's economy in the past has always been the movement of people, whether travellers, or armies going to war or tourists seeking pleasure. Boats, trains and hovercraft have been replaced by the Channel Tunnel (a kind of Folkestone bypass – 2014 will be its 20th anniversary). What comes next?
LOOKOUT is an exhibition (outdoors - in the urban environment) that invites you to visit some key points in high places, mainly around the old town of Folkestone, to join artists in questioning what is going on, and see whether you can share a long view on the future.
The word 'LOOKOUT' is functional but it's also symbolic. It has a certain psychic weight - it's about expectation: hope and fear. Its warning edge is the point of balance between what we hope we might get, and what we fear might be landed on us. It engages the future of economics, demography and migration, environmentalism and climate change, technology and communication, urban design for social engineering, food security etc
Kurt Vonnegut said, “I want to stand as close to the edge as I can without going over. Out on the edge you see all the kinds of things you can't see from the center.” Folkestone’s position at the edge of Britain closest to Eurasia offers unique viewpoints on what's going on in the world today. It's an ideal place to present global issues in a local context. LOOKOUT makes the town the perfect host to these concepts, debates and explorations.
Folkestone Triennial 2014 is an invitation to join artists in imagining futures whileexperiencing the present – head in the clouds (or the Cloud), feet on the ground. I would like to encourage all our visitors to immerse themselves in the urban fabric and 'read' it through the eyes of the artists. In a globalised world, these readings will inevitably conjure up all our futures. I hope you find lots to enjoy in the experience.