Strange Cargo was established in Folkestone in 1995 and has developed a significant reputation for its portfolio of imaginative public and visual arts projects, including special celebratory events and programmes with large groups of people. Consistently the company has committed to produce, develop and deliver high-quality participatory arts, a reputation that has been enhanced by a number of artworks in recent years, including Other People’s Photographs, Photographers Gallery London, 2008, and its contribution to Folkestone Triennial 2011, Everywhere Means Something to Someone.
For Folkestone Triennial 2014, under the leadership of Brigitte Orasinski, Strange Cargo responded to the title Lookout by researching residents’ perceptions of Folkestone now and in the future. Over 650 people contributed to the call for lucky information and four lucky participants were chosen to represent different age groups through the reproduction of their images. The four figures are clasping the most popular symbols of luck suggested through the research, and are resplendent in gold and adorned in the colours most associated with luck.
The Luckiest Place on Earth, at Folkestone Central Railway Bridge, transforms the bridge into a Lucky Gateway to the town through artistic sleight of hand. It makes use of existing (but unused) plinth-like structures on the bridge walls, a little suggestive of the plinths in churches supporting medieval statues. The four lucky participants have been digitally scanned using cutting edge technology and 3D printed to become representative, lucky icons for Folkestone.
Below at street level the Recycling Point for Luck and Wishes is embedded in the bridge structure; a disc-like receptacle that invites passers by to deposit a penny to make a wish, or to take a penny away for good luck. Strange Cargo questions the viewer’s perceptions and relationships to luck, and asks how we might move forward.