SOUTHERN ENGLAND - A large wood egg can be seen bobbing in the estuary of the Bealieu River, the latest creation of artist and environmentalist Stephen Turner.
Turner is actually living in the egg, a working laboratory to study the year-long cycle of a tidal creek. Dubbed the "Exbury Egg," the work of art is tethered so that it is able to rise and fall with the tide without drifting from its home base.
Turner collaborated with the British design firm SPUD, Perning Architecture + Design, Paul Baker, a boat builder, and Stephen Payne, a naval architect on the project. The 20-foot by 9-foot egg is comprised of two nearly identical molded plywood and two layers of reclaimed cedar to form the shell.
Inside, the egg has a desk, a small stove and a hammock. Solar energy supplies power for Turner's laptop, digital camera and cell phone. (Watch time-lapse video of Exbury Egg construction.)
"The Exbury Egg is a necessary intervention in the landscape at a key moment when climate change is already creating new shorelines and habitats," Turner writes on the website exburyegg.org."Established salt marsh is being eroded by a combination of rising sea levels and falling landmass and the entire littoral environment is in a state of flux. The implications for wildlife and flora as well as people are challenging and raise awareness of a particularly 21st century sort of tension and anxiety in our society where place is much talked about - yet where people are increasingly out of place and out of step with nature."
Turner also notes what he expects will occur to the Exbury Egg as a result of being in the water and exposed to the elements for a full year. "During this time the Egg exterior will be scoured, scraped and bleached by sea, wind and sun, creating a natural patination which is in itself a calendar of the turning year. Inside, my own visual and philosophical journey will be cataloged in collections of still and moving image, found objects, drawings and maps that chart an emotional as much as a physical geography. Thus the Egg will become a sculptural element in a time based happening, that both inside and out is a creative archive about one of the pressing issues of our times. In an age of hubris and self promotion, I want to provide a voice for mute nature, to be amanuensis to the tides, the terns and the turn stones."