0º00 Navigation part I – A Journey Across England

Simon Faithfull (1966 - )

QuickTime video


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  • About the work
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    0º00 Navigation part I - A Journey Across England, a black and white film by Simon Faithfull, follows the journey of the artist that begins as he emerges from the sea on the English south coast at Peacehaven in Sussex. Guided by a GPS device, he walks directly north along the 0º00’00” line of longitude. He negotiates each obstacle as they appear – climbing a sheer cliff, crossing suburban properties, wading through streams, crawling through hedges. Faithfull’s excursion across England therefore sets up a grandiose expectation that then gets dashed by the deadpan antics that he performs along the way. There is much wry humour that comes from both the artist’s over earnest endeavour as well as the bathetic objects he meets en route – such as a rotary air dryer and silent, staring cows. 

    Travelling through southeast England and on to London and the Midlands, the man eventually re-enters the sea at Cleethorpes, Lincolnshire, where he slowly swims away into the North Sea.

    The journeying format of Faithfull’s film is reminiscent of the 1968 film The Swimmer, in which Burt Lancaster swims through a series of people’s back garden pools in an obsessive attempt to return home. Faithfull’s work highlights the irrational nature of his own journey with its ludicrous premise that the zero line of longitude is a real phenomenon that he can follow. As he observes: 

    The Greenwich meridian bisects southern England because it was here that it was once fabricated out of treaties, maps and the mechanics of naval power.

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    video, QuickTime file format
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    0º00 Navigation part I – A Journey Across England
    QuickTime video
    Purchased from the artist, September 2016
    the artist, September 2016
    GAC number