Behind The Scenes: The World’s Oldest Boat Race
Sat 22 Sep, 1.30pmUpcoming event
An evening of reflection on the Thames as four artists discuss how the river has influenced their work. Hosted by Sarah Gaventa, Director of the Illuminated River Foundation, the panel discussion will be held aboard a boat- travelling along the Thames from Tower to Albert Bridge and back.
Illuminated River is a free public art project on unprecedented scale: a scheme to light 15 of central London’s bridges along the River Thames with a unified, kinetic LED artwork by artist Leo Villareal. Leo is the latest in a long line of artists, writers and musicians to have made work inspired by the Thames and its architecture.
Reflections on the River looks to other artists whose work celebrates the rich history, ecology and communal spirit of the Thames. The line-up for the evening includes: artist, sculptor and film-maker, Amy Sharrocks; award-winning author, Iain Sinclair; artist, Alan Ball; and documentary film-maker, Susi Arnott.
Amy Sharrocks is a live artist, sculptor and film-maker who invites people to come on journeys in which their own experience, communication and expression are a vital part. Her work gives careful consideration to the impact we have on each other and the world.
For 15 years she has been investigating people and our relationship to water: swimming across London, dowsing rivers, floating boats on swimming pools and inviting people to step off dry land.
In 2013 she began Museum of Water, a live artwork that has toured across the UK, The Netherlands and Western Australia. It was nominated for European Museum of the Year 2016.
She is trying to re-imagine the offer of cities. In 2017 she organised the Fry’s Island Swim, a swim for 80 people in the Thames River at Reading, and is currently encouraging people to sign up to Swim the Thames, a yearly width of the river in London.
Acclaimed author and film-maker Iain Sinclair has long cast a spotlight on the city of London; unearthing its lost cultures, neglected spaces and hidden histories. His most recent work, The Last London: True Fictions from an Unreal City (2017), forms the final chapter in Sinclair’s life-long odyssey through the streets of the capital.
Iain Sinclair studied at Trinity College, Dublin, the Courtauld Institute of Art, and the London School of Film Technique (now the London Film School). He lives in Hackney, East London.
Non-fiction works include Lights Out for the Territory: 9 Excursions in the Secret History of London (1997); London Orbital: A Walk around the M25 (2002); Edge of the Orison (2005); Ghost Milk (2011); London: City of Disappearances (2012); and London Overground (2015).
Novels include Downriver (1991), which won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize and Encore Award, Landor's Tower (2001); White Goods (2002); Dining on Stones (2004); and Hackney, That Rose-Red Empire (2009), shortlisted for the 2010 Ondaatje Prize.
Susi Arnott is a film-maker developing a scientific and imaginative interest in tides.
Timelapse work in Cornwall (Estuary, 2007) grew into a joint exhibition with photographer husband Crispin Hughes, Stone Hole, 2009 (Bridport, Photofusion, Peninsula Arts). Back in London, the five-screen installation Thames Tides (2016) was even more immersive (Cinema Museum, Brunel Sinking Shaft, Bartlett School of Architecture, Crossness Pumping Station). Based on one of these works, they then collaborated with Big Data Institute mathematicians on Bobby & Stillman (2017, UCL Science Library).
Invigilating over the 12-week run took Arnott back to her roots as a research biologist. Taking aesthetic pleasure in the colour and movement spurred library research on microbiota and tidal rhythms, leading to her current project on the Thames (working title Scum/Slime/Commuters).
Susi has a PhD from UCL (gene expression in plant cell systems) and is a graduate of the National Film&Television School, where she shot her first film on the Thames, Lightermen (1986). She is a visiting lecturer at U.Westminster, and Hon.Senior Research Fellow at U.Sussex.
Alan Ball is fascinated by the Thames and its estuary as a historic environment. Drawing upon the deep-time of geology, Alan’s work explores the boundary between what occurs naturally in the landscape and what emerges as a result of human impact. He is currently engaged in a long-term art project which transforms vinyl copies of Handel’s Water Music into field recordings of the Thames through a process of water abrasion.
In April 2018, Alan exhibited his Estuary series of objects aboard the lightship LV21, as part of Inspiral Kent Festival. Previous exhibitions include: Exhibiting the Exhibition, Staaliche Kunsthalle, Baden-Baden (March-June 2018); and The Artist's Museum, The Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston (Nov 2016 - March 2017). His work is in the Arts Council and Saatchi Collections.
Alan Ball studied Fine Art at Goldsmith’s, University of London, and has been a student of the David Robert Jones University from 1973 to the present. Age (as of 25 June 2018): 40,794 tides.