Tide Line Thames
After a long absence from this blog, I am back. I have spent countless hours in the intervening months taking video at my favorite Thames locations in southeast London. The footage will be used in the second stage of Tide Line Thames, my two year project funded by Arts Council England. The architecture of the river between high and low tidelines continues to fascinate me.
In the course of filming, I've heard river stories from passersby who stopped to chat. A gentleman from the Greenwich Rowing Club came by as I was filming at the Greenwich Power Station. I asked him the function of its fabulous structure, part of which juts out from the building into the river. Its massive cast iron pillars are planted in the river bed and support an overhead metal structure.
He told me that he remembers when the plant was coal-fired, and coal was delivered by boat, hoisted up by cranes into carts which were then rolled into the power station. He went on to say that during the war, locals would buy drinks for the coal boat pilots in nearby King William pub. The pilots obliged by leaving open the coal hatches on their boats and locals dredged the foreshore around the power station to scavenge the spillage.
The power station suggests a vast proscenium stage and casts theatrical shadows on sunny days.
The video I have taken is for Tide Line Thames: A Collaborative Light Projected Installation, that Tom Pearman and I are creating, for the Thames Tunnel Shaft of the Brunel Museum in September. We will be projecting images directly onto the rough curved walls of the Thames Tunnel Shaft. The shaft itself has dictated the kind of images that we worked with. Because it is not a clean white space, our imagery needed to be quite graphic to hold its own. I am excited by the intriguing visual relationships that have developed from overlaying Tom's geometrical animations onto my video footage.
More info on Totally Thames website
I have been working on a second installation for the 2017 Totally Thames Festival. Canary Wharf Arts has commissioned me to design large scale images which will be printed on dibond aluminium panels. They will be displayed in the Crossrail Place Roof Garden in Canary Wharf from 15 August to 15 October 2017.
For this project, I have worked with hybrid images. I began by projecting my Thames photographs onto the surfaces of my Thames paintings and photographed the results. I took these new photographs into Photoshop and began to cut and collage them to make images for the digital prints. Not the least bit naturalistic, the saturated colours and prismatic light of these images led to the installation's title.
Designing the prints for Tropical Thames also involved some time travel – to London's trading past and its potential future. The Roof Garden features varieties of plants that were native to countries visited by ships of the West India Dock Company, which unloaded goods in this location 200 years ago. In the course of researching and making work about the Thames, I also have been thinking about the urgent issue of climate change and what the effects of rising temperatures and sea levels could mean for the tidal river. Tropical Thames might be a beautiful nightmare.
More info on Totally Thames website.