Whitstable Biennale 2016: The Faraway Nearby

From eels to ice creams and Pacific Ocean islands, read our roundup of this year's Whitstable Biennale

By Fi Churchman

Well-Ellis, Parlour Walls, installation view, Whitstable Biennial 2016 Webb-Ellis, Parlor Walls, 2016 (installation view). Photo: ArtReview  © the artists. Marcia Farquhar, Based on a true story involving my mother, myself, an unknown old couple, a green ice cream and a hedge, 2016. Courtesy the artist and Whitstable Biennale Richard Layzell, Softly Softly, 2015. © the artist. Becca Voelcker, Island, 2015. Video still. © the artist. Sarah Wood, Boat People, 2016, image © the artist.

There’s a man walking along a beach, his metal-detector swaying gently from side to side following an invisible current, pulling him this way and that across sandy saltwater rivulets. He’s talking about eels. They come from Sargasso Sea. The eels travel over 3,000 miles to get to Europe, where they begin their transmutation from saltwater to freshwater fish. They change colour from glass-clear to silver-grey. Shown for the first time at Whitstable Biennale, Webb-Ellis’s three-channel video installation Parlor Walls (2016)…

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