Derek Jarman Vs. The Black Redstart

I have been reading a lot about Derek Jarman’s garden recently and there is something about it which really interests me. I would really like to integrate him somehow into my current research.

Here are a few key ideas which I find really interesting:

  • The film maker combined his painter’s eye and his horticultural expertise
  • The book ‘Derek Jarman’s Garden’ is the film maker’s own record of how the garden evolved since he moved there is 1986.
  • His garden started accidentally as he began collecting beachcombed treasures- it was then that the garden acquired a new meaning- ‘My journey to the sea each morning had a purpose’
  • He was attracted to Dungeness by the ‘solitude and silence’ of the place
  • ‘When I came to Dungeness in the mid-eighties. I had no thought of building a garden. It looked impossible; shingle with no soil supported a sparse vegetation- ‘plants were plonked in and let to take their chances in the winds of Dungeness’
  • He was troubled by his diagnosis of HIV and thought of gardening as therapy
  • His gardening was an exploratory process, by which he learned a lot about the surroundings in Dungeness. Talking about the planting of Crambes he notes ‘they survive in this terrain because they have roots at least 20 foot long’
  • His collections from beachcombing lead him to build ‘scultpures made for tools and found objects’

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The photographs from the book ‘Derek Jarman’s Garden’ are similar to the close up images I have taken of Dungeness from a ‘birds’ perspective. I would like to look into Jarman’s work to find out how it has influenced his view of the world around him and whether this artistic viewpoint is the reason for him wanting to buy a house in Dungeness.





I am wondering whether I might be able to combine Derek Jarman with my current exploration of the habitat of birds in Dungeness. I would like to compare the Derek Jarman and the seabrids of Dungeness in terms of the reasons for which they chose Dungeness as their ‘habitat’ and how they use the landscape to improve or develop their ‘homes’. For example the birds build nests within the existing buildings and ruins using the materials fromt the site. In a similar way, Derek Jarman beachcombs the site for interesting found objects to build his garden. From this comparison I would like to see what I can learn from the way in which both party ‘sees’ Dungeness differently and their bulit experiments on site.

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