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Spitfire Beach (2010)

4' 12 (Original in HD)

Narrated by Gerard Fletcher and music by Jeff Harbourne


Using the top ten best selling Airfix aeroplane kit names a narrative is written, including each name of the aeroplane in the order

it appears on the list. The imagery within the film is of an abstract sculpture made from airfix aeroplane pieces, but constructed in a

haphazard way, referencing the source of the narrative. The story itself tells of a situation where individuals are queuing on Spitfire

Beach to throw crates of their personal belongings into the sea.

  1. Spitfire
  2. Harrier
  3. Messerschmitt
  4. Hurricane
  5. Gnat
  6. Lancaster
  7. Mosquito
  8. Hawk
  9. Eurofighter Typhoon
  10. Kittyhawk

Introduction to Short Cuts Exhibition by Michael Cousin (g39)


In Spitfire Beach (2010) Lisa Stansbie takes the dogmatic instructions supplied with Airfix kits and ends with a sculpture and film that

defy the ordered kit-building narrative that exists in the plans of each aeroplane. Hurricanes and Typhoons, Mosquitoes and Spitfires

are transformed into places and events that are woven into a narrative that takes place on an impossible shoreline, where a queue

of people abandon the momentoes of their life into the sea.


This work originally stemmed from the archive page here




Spitfire Beach (2010)

By Lisa Stansbie


It was dusk as we stood in rows along the ancient pier on Spitfire Beach. Today the atmosphere was heavy with fate.  The beach was often

overwhelming in its silence, they said it was the ghost of past crashes. The wind whipped at our grey faces, keeping us awake. A harrier

swooped down towards us, mistaking our discarded objects for food.


It was a strange affair, each one of us clutching the box of papers and books to be thrown into the sea, the contents not destroyed but floating

into oblivion.  Some papers might travel as far as Messerschmitt, yet to be discovered. I imagined them found by a distant being who tried to piece

the papers together like a jigsaw. The hurricane would be here in three days. The predictions were never wrong. The papers would appear as if part

of the devastation. A splash of sea water hit my face, the cold biting into it like a sand gnat. These insects frequented the beach at dusk.


I was one person away from emptying out my own crate, and I felt an overwhelming urge to keep the traces of who I was. As the lid was taken off,

the plans of my Lancaster house were ripped from the pile to be scattered by the wind, each paper slowly slicing into the surface of the water.

I saw a postcard lift itself up and as it twirled gracefully in mid air I stretched and could see its picture of Mosquito Bay. When we visited as children

the bay seemed exotic, an enchanted white peninsula. With the new friends I made every year we created a hawk den, where we secretly observed

the boat makers. The final year we inhabited the den we watched in awe as the workers constructed the Eurofighter, named to instil hope in the new

nation. It was wrecked by a typhoon on its first voyage. This was the last of my papers in the box, an old photograph from my days in the legion. The

men I stood next to were no longer here. I removed it and slid it into my pocket. The Kittyhawk camera moved in toward me. I had been seen trying to





Spitfire Beach T1 Project Space (2010)


The t1 project space project is situated in The University of Huddersfield. It is a space for exhibitions and as a ‘testbed’ for ideas and events.

Spitfire Beach was a week long experimental project in the T1 Project Space at The University of Huddersfield and involved an exploration of

sculpture and film through the use of Airfix model aeroplane kits.  This project culminated in the creation of a film work titled Spitfire Beach. 


Spitfire Beach Blog

The blog provides a description of the T1 Project Space week involving experimentation using the Airfix kits to create sculpture, installation and

film works. The exploratory writing in the blog functions as a meandering series of thoughts generated through creating associations during the

making process.


Click here to launch blog


Spitfire Beach Film Stills







SpitfireBeach Photographs










Spitfire Beach has been shown in the following material sites:

2010 Spitfire Beach, 16th - 20th March, T1 Project Space, University of Huddersfield

2010 Short Cuts, 26th March - 1st May, g39, Cardiff, Wales Exhibition handout pdf. Written by Michael Cousin.