Disappearance at Sea (1996)
Dean, Tacita

collection Tate. London

Disappearance at Sea is a 16mm colour anamorphic film installation with sound. This work has been described as follows: ‘The film charts nightfall as seen refracted in the Fresnel lenses of the St. Abb’s Head Lighthouse in Berwickshire, cutting between a shot looking inwards at the bulbs orbiting each other and a view out to sea; it ends with the descent into darkness, evoking a sense of loss’. The sound incorporates the rhythmic clunking of the revolving beacon, and ends with a crescendo of seagulls. The work was inspired by the true story of Donald Crowhurst, who in 1969 competed in the Sunday Times Golden Globe Race. Crowhurst, an amateur sailor, quickly encountered difficulty and decided to report false positions. After several months his boat was found abandoned out at sea, and Crowhurst had disappeared. The film is 14mins long.