Yesterday the RWA had a really exciting visitor, Ben Hooper, who is attempting to swim from Africa to Brazil; the great Atlantic Ocean.
Ben is the first person to endeavour swimming at such extreme lengths using freestyle swimming.
He has already swam around the Mediterranean and this time he wants to really push his limits and challenge his abilities to a more treacherous route.
Ben will swim up to a total of 12 hours per day. His epic swim will take him over 30-foot surges, passing through shark inhabited regions, and without doubt, he will encounter jelly fish, flying fish and a harsh Equatorial sun. The swim will be filmed by a Hollywood crew and edited into a video diary.
Ben is interested in the artistic input in his project and visited The Power of the Sea for inspiration. He will be accompanied by artist Mel Cross who will be documenting the impact the swim will have on Ben, through her work. Mel’s work captures ‘essence’. “I don’t try to illustrate the physical nature of form – we can experience this via our senses. I try to capture the essential nature of form. The inter-dimensional resonance – the imprint the physical makes in the Universe.”
Standing before Janette Kerr’s giant and impressive ‘Holding My Breath II’ Ben exclaimed, this is what my head feels like right now, after my morning training.
Ben said of Andrew Friend’s work ‘Device for Disappearing (at sea)’
“The first moment I spied this, I immediately felt a little overwhelmed, for it represents the calm inside of me yet highlights the incredible distance I will swim through the flat Doldrums, of Mid-The Atlantic Ocean. As somebody who has a little experience of free-diving, it reminded me of the platform/flotilla from which we dive, and the tranquility you enter, leaving the world above you, behind. An amazing piece of work which is beautiful, yet a little unsettling at the same time.”
The video installation ‘Ama’ in the Milner gallery by Rona Lee really struck a chord with Ben.
“This has to be one of the most incredible, powerful, works of art I have seen. The piece moved me, frightened me, enticed me further into the ocean and somehow, the philosophers words uttered by her blind-actress, penetrated the depths of my soul. The script is beautiful, it appeared to hit every message of my expedition at a personal and professional level. It highlights the utter beauty of our oceans, the fear, our dependence on their existence and cleanliness and more importantly, the good and bad in human’s becoming one with such power and beauty.”