For Dover Arts Development, Dover is central. Dover may be on the periphery of England and the most iconic border between England and Europe, but the centre or centrality of Dover in relation to its identity is key to the philosophical perspective of DAD.
If identity of place is determined by where it is not, as much as where it is, Dover’s position is constantly looking out towards Europe and back towards England. This, in turn, is reflected in the diversity and transience of the town’s population – some constant and rooted in Dover’s cultural history and others rooted (or up rooted) in histories of other places – a kind of entropy – a term the artist Robert Smithson adapted from thermodynamics where it is the event of a hotter (or colder) fluid being added to its other – in cultural terms, this must mean that neither native nor incomer can claim identity that is exclusive of the other. Another Smithson artistic term could be useful here – site/non-site – in this scheme the site that is represented is encountered in the non-site of its representation – a picture is the non-site of the site that it depicts.
Could there be a cultural equivalent in DAD’s Dover – what form might this take in the constantly folding and re-folding between England and Europe? DAD’s commissions are concerned with finding and exploring the possibilities of such forms, all of which may seem to resonate a sense of place. (Adrian Lovis)