0º00 Navigation Part I: A Journey Across England

Super8 transferred to SD video (silent), 51min, 2009

A figure swims out of the sea where the Greenwich Meridian hits the south-coast of England, at Peacehaven in Sussex. Always seen from behind, the solitary figure emerges out of the water carrying a hand held GPS device and using this implement he proceeds to walk directly north along the 0º00’00” line of longitude. Any obstacle encountered is negotiated – fences climbed, properties crossed, buildings entered via nearest windows, streams waded, hedges crawled through. The figure gradually makes his way up through southeast Britain, through London, the Midlands and ultimately re-enters the sea at Cleethorpes, Lincolnshire. The figure then slowly swims away into the North Sea heading ever further north.

In 0º00 Navigation the hypothetical, geographic construct that is the zero line of longitude is treated as if it were a real phenomenon – a path mapped out to follow. 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.