We intend to publish links to works of art (sculptures, installations, films) inspired by, and involving, tidal processes. At present paintings and drawings of tidal scenes are not included as we are focusing on more preformative, animated productions, (some photography and film) .
We will focus on arts work which incorporate the tides as ‘active agents’ in their composition. There are quite a lot we know of, so the list will develop over time. Please send any ideas to Owain – o.jones (AT) bathspa.ac.uk.
They are in no particular order – as we find them.
Will try to put title, artist, location and date, and one or two images and links.
Currently we are at 51 entries, but some of those are multiple site efforts so the numbers are a bit approximate
See also Severn Estuary Art Atlas (SEAA) and Wadden Sea Art Atlas (WSAA)
These are blogs and maps just about the art in these two amazing landscapes.
We are going to reverse the order of these, with newest on top from now on.
No 56. Tidal Landscapes Event, Bristol UK 2018
A night exploring the shifting and cyclical nature of tidal landscapes through music, installation and sound.
By artists Luci Gorell Barnes, Alex Goodman, Richard Hughes and Yas Clarke. Luci Gorell Barnes will be showing Tidal Village – an emerging piece of work with ideas and images about flooding and loss that I am exploring on the high tides of the Severn Estuary.
No 55. Wrecked. film, UK, Author unknown as yet
Click on image to go to site
No 54. Drift. Composition by Richard Hughes, (2018)
Performed by Trio Atem who play Drift for the first time in a workshop setting. Trio Atem are: flutes, Gavin Osborn, Mezzo Soprano – Nina Whiteman, Cello – Alice Purton.
The composer says:
Watching the tides in the Severn rise, turn and fall fascinated me. I was moved by the contrasting flows and rhythms of the water. I could see the current of the tide coming in from the Bristol Channel whilst the constant stream of the river flowed downstream on its way to the sea. As the river reaches its fullest height, the flow of the water upstream gradually diminishes and this channel of moving water slows and becomes thinner. The flow of the river, in the opposite direction of course, remains constant. This flow continues to decrease and slows down until the water on the surface of the river seems to lose all sense of direction. The water appears to loose its purpose like the feeling just before an eclipse of stillness and silence… Then, gradually the water starts to flow in the other direction, downstream. Imperceptively at first, then gaining momentum as the full weight of the river pushes this huge body of water seawards. I wanted to reflect this in the music I was writing. I focused on the different and contrasting flows and rhythms moving across one another, writing phrases that would constantly move against and past each other. I did this by writing four bar phrases that would exist simultaneously alongside passages that are five bars long. These phrases modulate over a number of repetitions, for example the five bar phrase falling chromatically four times. The phrases therefore, come back in synch more than 100 bars later. These contrasting parts were then split across instruments so that the sum of the parts still adhered in some way to this original idea but crossed across instrumentation. James Saunders suggested I could find a different way to determine when the performers played their parts and I liked this idea and mulled over it for a time. I had been looking at the tide charts so I knew when to visit to watch a turning tide. However I then became interested in the way that the tide cycle is never exactly twenty four hours but always slightly longer or shorter, and I wondered about how tide and time move across each other. I imagined a piece where time, in this case a 24-hour cycle acted as the meter. I made a graphic representation of the 24-hour and superimposed the tide chart onto it. I decided that the cello could play the undulating line described by the tide map. I then thought that there should be n aural equivalent of the change of time/light. I made an electronic sine wave with a cycle time of one minute (to represent 24 hours) making the piece seven minutes long representing a week. I decided that the piece would inhabit a very small tonal range – between G and D flat within the treble clef lines. Because every curve changes slightly, the differences therefore would be microtonal. I wondered what this would do to our perception of these changes over the seven minutes, and whether they would become larger in our consciousnesses. The flute and the singer would provide the surface disruption; the rhythms of the river’s surface and the play of light on the water. At first I imagined them playing written lines at the height and depth of the river height and that I would write them at a length where they would somehow cross but I could not find a way of doing it, and I then questioned the value of this idea and let it go. The surface disruption is at the same height as the tide level and James also suggested that the disruption could relate to the curve which describes the tide times and heights, so the instruction was then to add surface disruption to this line. At any point, a phrase would start at the note that the curve describes and then move away from this line, but the next phrase would start at the curve again. Notes would be longer and quieter at the highest and lowest points of the curve and shorter and more ‘excited’ where the line is steepest (where the force and speed of water is greatest). These parts would also necessarily be microtonal given that the overall range of the piece is so tiny. As a performance note, I sent the musicians a video of the surface of the river. When I was explaining this process to a friend he said, “It’s almost as if the tide is playing itself.”
No 53. “Tidal Village” This is exploratory work by Luci Gorell Barnes at Purton; Mid-Severn Estuary – high tide; 23 09 2017
“We walk along the narrow path edged with blackthorn down to the water’s edge. The tide is coming in fast and I quickly chose a place to site my 3 houses. I like working with the stuff of childhood and am reminded of playing by the pond when I was little, but this water has a current that sweeps in with enormous force. The smallest house is picked up and carried to the end of its anchor line. The two taller houses capsize, and I make notes for moderations and useful things to bring next time – like a spare memory card for my camera and a long stick.
I think about flooding, about Bangladesh and how we may all end up being sucked into the rising tides. I remember the cut paper dolls in the bottom of my basket and drift them into the water, which is already starting to recede. My houses come to rest back on the mud and I pick them up by their anchor lines and carry them up to the car. We go to the pub for cider and crisps, and sit looking out across the estuary where water and land shift so fast they seem interchangeable.”
As stated above – the numbering here is a bit imprecise, but if this next entry is number 50 it is appropriate because it is so wonderful. We are shocked this was not known to us before!
No 50. FireStacks; Julie Brook; Jura, Scotland; 2016 and 1992 – 1994
See here for short film and text about the Firestacks on BBC TV
No 49. Two Take a Moment; Farah Allibhai; 2016?
A performance art film. Very lovely (we think). Needs to be watched on Vimeo
Thanks to Debora Haguirre Jones for alert on this
No 48. 7RN/Bore. Richard Tarr; 2016
A series of photographic portraits of the Severn Bore surfing community, and some landscape shots of the tidal river. Here
No 47. Tide; Wolfgang Buttress;Brisbane; Australia; 2015.
Source and more info here
Wolfgang Buttress; image from ‘Tide’ – here
No 46. The Tidal Thames; Susi Arnott and Crispin Hughes; London 2016
“A large-scale, 5-screen projected installation, created along the tidal Thames in central London.
Twice a day, the Thames rises many metres to fill secret, enclosed spaces in central London.
Cameras and stereo microphones, held under wharves, jetties and office-blocks, recorded four distinct audio films. Starting slowly, the water rises inexorably to take and drown each camera in the confined space of its man-made, built environment; stereo sounds of traffic, birds, humans and boat-wash are replaced by burbling inundation and the buzz of propellers. The films are not ‘in synch’; the chaos of their rhythms means nobody walks into the same exhibition twice…
In silent accompaniment, and from dry vantage-points looking E, S, W and N, ‘The Moon and the City’ shows the tides falling, rising, falling and rising again as if in a single day – and in relation to the rising, passing and setting moon.”
Artists Susi Arnott and Crispin Hughes are both experienced UK scuba divers with a particular scientific and imaginative interest in the effects of tides in enclosed spaces. Their previous collaborative works include Unquiet Thames and Stone Hole.
No 45. The Estuary Festival 2016.
This was a very large, impressive looking multifaceted festival celebrating the Thames Estuary and it landscapes and cultures. It has now ended but lots of great info and images and links are on the website. Link to Programme here.
Here is a map of locations – links are not live.
Here is a map of the festival locations. The links are not live!!
No 44. Sea Empress Tide Edition
SEA EMPRESS is a publication produced in association with the ‘Sea Empress’ Project hosted by the Reading Room in Manorbier, Pembrokeshire. This is edition one of a series including Tide, Deep Time, Animism and Memory.
No 43. Ron Haselden-Sea Life-2016
Film on Vimeo of a tidal art installation
Lors du festival de l’estran sur la côte de granit rose, Ron Haselden a réalisé une sculpture sur la plage de Toul Gwen à l’ïle Grade sur la commune de Pleuleur-Bodou. Une algue ramassée non loin est à l’origine de sa forme . La sculpture s’est déroulée en un ruban ondulant de 25m, se couvrant et se découvrant au gré des marées . Je l’ai filmée en priorité quand elle était sous la surface de la mer , et pas directement visible par les visiteurs.
Has to be watched on Vimeo
No 42. Drie Streken Oerol; Holland; 2016; Marc Van Vliet
Marc Van Vliet has installed a wooden structure in the north of the netherlands called ‘de streken’ that changes with the tides. placed in the center of zeven streken (seven illuminated points of the compass), observers find themselves in the middle of a large entity that occupies the landscape out as far as the horizon. with each passing hour of the day, the project reveals different aspects of its sand flats location, that serves as a meeting location illuminated by the sun.
Text and images from here
No 41. Flood House; 2016; UK (Link to creator team below)
“Flood House is a prototype structure that is both a practical and poetic investigation into the living conditions of a seasonally flooded landscape. It will function as part projected future dwelling and part practical laboratory, monitoring the very particular weather conditions of the Thames Estuary in southeast England.
The design of Flood House references the architecture of the Estuary including fishing sheds, WWII pillboxes, bunkers and Maunsell naval sea forts. It measures 5.5 metres by 7.5 metres, is fabricated in ply and weatherboard, and floats on three steel pontoons.
The structure will be moored at various sites in the Estuary in April and May 2016 and will drift from mudflat to mudflat as if in a future flooded landscape.
Matthew Butcher, designer and tutor at the Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL, has designed Flood House. The project was conceived in collaboration with Dr Rokia Raslan and Dr Jonathon Taylor at the UCL Institute for Environmental Design and Engineering (IEDE) and was funded through an award from the UCL Bartlett Faculty of the Built Environment Materialisation Grant Programme. Matthew is working with independent curator Jes Fernie and Focal Point Gallery in Southend on a programme of commissions and public events developed in response to the project.
Flood House is part of the Radical Essex programme which aims to re-examine the history of Essex in relation to radicalism in thought, lifestyle, politics and architecture. Led by Focal Point Gallery in partnership with Visit Essex and Firstsite, events will take place across the county in 2016 and 2017.”
Source of above, creator credits, and more info here
No 1. Tidal Well; Tim Collins; California US; Date??
No 2. Another Place; Antony Gormley; Crosby UK; 1997.
No 3 a & b. From Across the Water / Body of Water; Louisa Fairclough; Severn Estuary/River UK; 2010-11.
Sound recording based film sculptures
From the website
“Often at the time of the full moon, with my young son in tow, I cycle to the Severn to pitch the tent on the river bank. A tidal river, the Severn is strangely compelling: as we stand at the edge of the river listening to the roar of the oncoming tide rushing in from the sea, I am (in my head) shouting across the river into the night. The tide carrying with it my grief to the river’s source before being pulled out to sea.
The following body of work uses ground, tidal water, voice and light as material, and take the form of film loops, field recordings and drawings.”
No 4 a & b. Bore Song / Song of Grief; Louisa Fairclough; Severn Estuary/River UK; 2010-11.
Sound recordings, voice and film installations
Installations at Danielle Arnaud, 2011
No 5. Tidal Workings; Antony Lyons; Bristol UK; ??
Antony is an eco-artist with a background as an environmental/water scientist and landscape architect. He is based in Bristol and is an associate of the PLaCE Research Centre. Working in the field of environmental policy and planning, he specialised in sustainable drainage and ecological design. His creative involvement with the Severn Estuary area has largely centered on the tidal River Avon and Bristol’s harbour zone. He has also carried out water-related projects on the North Somerset coast and – most recently – on the tidal River Torridge in North Devon.
Current artistic research interests that relate to the Severn Estuary include explorations of ‘dammed/drowned landscapes’ (reservoir and barrage sites), and coastal ‘salt landscapes’ (current and past sites of sea-salt production).
Other tidal River Avon projects include the production of sculptural and design features for the ‘New Cut’ section of the river, and long-term involvement with wetland restoration and pollution-control initiatives in the harbour.
Details of these and many other environment/art/landscape projects can be seen at:
Also on SEAA website
No 6. Sabrina Dreaming; Severn Estuary Tidelands UK; Antony Lyons; 2013-2015
A multi media project on the Severn Estuary and its tidal margins by Antony Lyons
See main website here
The Aust Goddess (figurine; replica). This Iron-age/early Roman bronze figurine was found around 1900 at the muddy coast of Aust, on the Severn Estuary near Bristol. Picture by Antony Lyons. See full blog post here.
No 7. Tide & Change in the River Medway UK;Stephen Turner; 1998
“In 1998 Turner produced a unique installation, entitled “Tide & Change in the River Medway” in an abandoned nautical fort, built last century on a salt marsh island in the middle of the Medway estuary in Kent.
Throughout August Stephen recorded the movements of the tides on huge canvas tarpaulins stretched across the riverbed at strategic positions around the water’s edge. Then, over a complete cycle of the moon from September to October, he lived on the island and received visitors, carried over on boats as the tides allowed, to view the river-worked canvases hung on the ramparts of the fort.”
Source and more information here.
No 8. Wooden Boulder; David Nash; Wales UK; 1978 – still going
This was not initially an intentional ‘tidal art work’, but the agencies of nature soon became active in the ongoing process of this piece, and tides ended up playing a very active role in its ongoing drama.
“David Nash’s work Wooden Boulder is an ecological/elemental art work that incorporates natural rhythmic processes over time. An oak boulder, three feet in diameter, was created in the late 1970s. Partly by accident it got stuck in a mountain stream in Wales. From then on, at times when the stream was in spate, the boulder was occasionally moved down stream. The artist began to chart this progress. Eventually the boulder found it way into the tidal reaches of the estuary of the River Dwyryd. According to Deakin (2007: 163) the bolder began to,
“wander the waters of the estuary, mysteriously disappearing up creeks, endlessly doubling back on itself in the ebb and flow, moving with each new tide, responding to the moon . Nash went searching for it in a boat and lost it all together for a while . During those chilly winter days of hide-and-seek he studied the tides and pored over charts, mapping the uncertain voyage. Then one January day the great oak apple reappeared on a saltmarsh and seemed almost settled for a moment until that equinox tide of 19 March 2003 floated it free. Nash watched from the boat  as the heavy sphere floated, most of its body submerged ‘like a seal’.  It was just a far off dot when he last saw it on 30th of March. Somebody sighted Wooden Boulder floating close to the estuary’s mouth a few days later, but it vanished in April 2003.”
THis is an extract from
Jones O. (2010) ‘The Breath of the Moon’: The Rhythmic and Affective Time-spaces of UK Tides, in T. Edensor (ed) Geographies of Rhythm, Oxford: Ashgate, pp 189-203.
More info and images here
Short video here
No 9.Tidal Culture; Deborah Wing-Sproul; North America and other Atlantic coastal locations; 2004.
Deborah Wing-Sproul is a multidisciplinary artist working primarily in video and performance. Her performances (or “performative acts”) permeate the genres of sculpture/installation, drawing, photography and printmaking.
Tidal Culture is a long-term nomadic work (2004- ) using the Atlantic Ocean as a focal point and primary resource. Part I begins on the shorelines of Maine. The work continues in several countries bordering the North Atlantic Ocean: Newfoundland, Greenland, Iceland, and the Hebrides. These sites, because of their proximity to the arctic ice cap, have become grounds for observing climate change. I’m drawn to these landscapes for their character— sometimes austere, sometimes lush, often connoting isolation.
There are 10 web pages charting the progression of this work on different sites
The Introduction is here
No 10. Drift; Teri Rueb; Watten Sea Germany; 2004.
“Drift (2004) is a site-specific GPS-based sound installation set along the Wadden Sea in Northern Germany. Drift was commissioned by the Cuxhavener Kunstverein in Cuxhaven, Germany.”
“The Watten Sea becomes a metaphor for hertzian space as visitors are invited to wander among layered currents of sand, sea and interactive sounds that drift with the tides, and with the shifting of satellites as they rise and set, introducing another kind of drift.
The installation covers a 2 km x 2 km region that is filled with areas of interactive sound. The region moves with the tide such that at low tide all the sounds are out on the Watt, at high tide they flood the town. Sounds play automatically as you wander through these interactive areas with a Pocket PC, GPS and headphones. The location of the areas changes constantly with the shifting tides – therefore, the best strategy for finding them is simply to wander.”
Images and text from here
No 11. Threads; (Black Rock); Davina Kirkpatrick; Severn Estuary UK; 2013 – 2014.
UK based artist and academic Davina Kirkpatrick has tied the shredded shirts of her suddenly deceased partner, Chris, to fencing in an intertidal area, of the Severn Estuary, at a location called ‘Back Rock’, and these has slowly transformed over a year as they have been repeatedly washed by the tide, and rain, and blown by the wind. Subsequent visits to the site has been recorded in words, drawing and photographs as an ongoing body of work addressing mourning and remembrance.
A videod talk relating to this can be found here
A pdf of the talk here
No 12. The Breath of the Moon; Michaela Palmer (Owain Jones); Severn Estuary UK; 2010.
Sonification of Tidal Data at Avonmouth, 3:09 mins
The Breath of the Moon is a sonification of the tidal patterns at the Avonmouth Docks. The artefact follows these patterns for 12 hrs and 18 mins. During this time the tide goes out, reaches low tide, comes back in, reaches high tide and then recedes again. This tidal movement has been translated into sound and then, to make it more easily perceptible, contracted in time.
The composition itself is not a fixed arrangement of pre-recorded sounds, but a software program that arranges its sound samples live. Moreover, some sounds are also generated live. Combining these two processes means that – unlike the recording on this page – the real artefact sounds a little different each time it is played.
This is part of a large UWE base project Sonic Severn
Sonic Severn has been developed by Michaela Palmer and Owain Jones, an interdisciplinary research team at the Universities of the West of England, and Bath Spa UK. Michaela and Owain work on the sonification of the extraordinary tidal rhythms of the Severn Estuary, in order to bring to public and political attention the very rich ecological and cultural heritages of this estuary, as well as the threats it faces.
Michaela is an Artist and Senior Lecturer in Digital Media. Her research interest span across play and interaction, physical (sensor-based) computing, sonification of complex processes, generative art and music, installation art, web design as well as multimedia authoring.
No 13. Tide; Luke Jerram; Bristol UK; 2001.
This was not about sea tides specifically but the gravitational force of the moon and resulting earth tides
“As the earth and moon move through space and time around the sun, our position also changes within this shifting triangle of spheres. Tide is a live installation controlled by this changing spatial relationship.
A gravity meter located in the gallery space measures the Earth tide, caused by the changing gravitational pull of the moon and sun on the Earth. This information is represented as a video projection showing a full 24 hours of altering gravity. Through the use of water pumps, the received data is also made to control water levels within each sculptural object. A friction device makes the glass of each sculpture resonate and sing (like rubbing a finger around the rim of a wine glass). The rise and fall of water levels over time from high to low tide changes the note produced by each singing sculpture.
Referencing the planets in movement and form, the resonating spheres of glass create a chorus of sounds which fill the gallery space. Being ‘directed’ live, these machines are altering their state with the change in Earth tide and the altering positions of the moon and Sun in relation to the gallery.”
Film of Estonian installation of Tides here
No 14. Source; Anne Bevan; Orkney (Scotland); 2001.
A site specific installation in Stromness harbour, Orkney.
The idea was to make a constantly changing work that is seen and concealed by the rise and fall of the tide.
The cylinder is filled with water transported from Venice, like a test tube or a core sample, measuring and revealing the different waters, North with South. Apart from showing the potential beauty of water, the ‘source’ project raises issues concerning international communication and environmental implications of industry, energy and transportation. As a result, part of the project involved scientific analysis and tests of both waters.
Work made in collaboration with Italian based artist Matthew Broussard.
Installation with acrylic cylinder (300x 60cm), glass vessels, Venetian water, video projection, print of water analysis, wall drawing of map, galvanised bucket.
Commissioned by The Pier Arts Centre, Stromness as part of The Constant Moment – a project funded by the Scottish Arts Council Millennium Fund, Orkney Islands Council, The Henry Moore Foundation and Orkney Enterprise.
Photograph: Anne Bevan/ Michael Wolchove
See website here
No 15. Compositions for a Low Tide; Louisa Fairclough; Whitstable UK, 2014
performed by Rochester Cathedral Choristers Whitstable Biennale 2014
photograph by Bernard G. Mills
“As day turns to dusk, a group of choristers will walk out with a small group of people along the line of The Street, an ancient shingle spit that stretches out a mile out into the sea at low tide. As the group make their way out to the distal end of the spit and back, the choristers perform two works choreographed by the artist, their voices sometimes lost in the wind.”
Scource: Whitstable Biennale 2014
No 16. Some:when – celebrating cohesion through the watery heritage of the Somerset Moors and Levels: Jethro Brice and Seila Fernandez Arconada; Somerset UK; 2014.
Some:when is a collaborative public art project conceived in response to the floods on the Somerset Moors and Levels. It is led by artists Jethro Brice and Seila Fernandez Arconada, together with individuals and community groups affected by the floods.
Flooding and water have been an inextricable part of Somerset’s history, at the heart of both the pains and pleasures of life in a unique landscape. This landscape has been extensively managed and changed over the centuries, and with unstable weather patterns, rising seas and changing land use, new visions are being created for how this landscape might look for future generations. One proposal in particular looks at installing a sluice at the mouth of the Parrett to prevent the incursion of the tides, a move that will bring relief to many whilst also marking the end of a particular heritage – Langport was historically a busy trading post at the upper tidal limit of the river.
The aim of the project is to support and amplify the remarkable resilience of Somerset communities in responding creatively to the floods. Working with local groups in and around Langport, we will create a replica of the traditional Somerset Flatner from reclaimed materials, sourced in the immediate environment. Designed as a practical and affordable solution for navigating life in a changeable environment, this characteristic Somerset boat is an iconic local design that represents the centrality of both water and human ingenuity in shaping the history of life on the levels. Through creative, participatory workshops we will share and reflect on the stories of children and young people affected by the floods, and articulate a vision of Somerset’s future that will be translated into a celebratory banner or sail for the Flatner. As a final event, local groups are invited to accompany the Flatner on a triumphant journey from Langport to Bridgwater on the outgoing tide.
For further information and to follow the development of the project, please visit www.some-when.org.uk
The project is made possible by the support of the Somerset Community Foundation and Somerset Art Works.
No 17. High-Slack-Low-Slack-High — a suite of site-responsive sound works inspired by the tidal range of the River Clyde in Glasgow; Glasgow International Festival of Visual Art; 2012. (various artists).
High-Slack-Low-Slack-High is a suite of five site-related sound works made in response to the tidal cycle of the River Clyde in Glasgow and presented as part of Glasgow International Festival of Visual Art.
Performances in public spaces in Glasgow:
- Monday 23 April – Hanna Tuulikki – Bell’s Bridge/Millenium Bridge, G51 – 3.15pm
- Tuesday 24 April – John Cavanagh – Riverside Museum, G3 8RS – 3.45pm
- Wednesday 25 April – Nichola Scrutton – Dixon Street, G1 4AL – 4.05pm
- Thursday 26 April – Douglas Morland – Clyde north waterfront between Victoria and Glasgow Bridges, G5 – 4.45pm
- Friday 27 April – Minty Donald/Nick Millar – Central Station – 5.25pm (and on city centre bus routes throughout the week)
Each work is anticipated to have a duration of 10-20 minutes.
High-Slack-Low-Slack-High is a suite of five site-related sound works made in response to the tidal cycle of the River Clyde in Glasgow and presented as part of Glasgow International Festival of Visual Art.
John Cavanagh, Minty Donald/Nick Millar, Douglas Morland, Nichola Scrutton and Hanna Tuulikki – a group of artists with shared, but diverse, interests in sound, space and place – have created audio works to be performed in public spaces close to or on the River Clyde over five days during the Festival (Monday 23rd – Friday 27th April 2012). Each performance is timed to coincide with high tide. In these citywide performances, the natural cadences and flux of the river, once significant in the tempo of Glasgow life, will again leak into the urban fabric.
On Saturday 28th April, all five works will be performed in the Trust Hall of Clydeport Authority Headquarters, an opulent, circular, Edwardian boardroom overlooking the Clyde. Here, the sonic interpretations of the river’s tidal cycle will permeate a building that stands as symbol of Glasgow’s maritime heritage.
The sound works are:
- a vocal piece performed with megaphones, whose musical structure derives from tidal data
- a work using sound samples recorded onboard Clyde-based vessels, including a nuclear submarine and a Dutch barge
- a vocal tone poem accompanying a ritual dredging of river water, later used in a performance on musical glasses
- a refrain of ships’ horns interrupting the pulse of the city’s transport network, greeting passengers as they boar or disembark bus or train
- a piece for voice and ‘signal’ sounds that takes its temporal form from flashing navigation beacons on the Clyde.
‘High-Slack-Low-Slack-High reflects on the functional and symbolic roles played by urban rivers in contemporary cities – and in particular, the role of the River Clyde in Glasgow today. It’s common belief that, following the decline of shipbuilding and other maritime industries, Glasgow turned its back on the River. Now, while the riverbanks are undergoing significant regeneration, the water itself remains a relatively dead space. Through interweaving the natural cadences of the tide with contemporary urban rhythms, High-Slack-Low-Slack-High is an invitation to re-imagine the relationship between river and city – beyond the legacy of Glasgow’s industrial and manufacturing past.’
Perpetually rising and falling yet constrained within manmade embankments, detached from the city that once saw it as symbolic of its industrial prowess, the tidal river is taken as an invitation to reflect on ideas of change and continuity, nature and culture, in relation to the contemporary, post-industrial city. (From press release)
No 18. Benjamin Bray; Coasts; US; 2006
“Digital video is projected onto hung glass sculpture, and the accompanying sound is projected out from it from speakers mounted in the tails. The sculpture serves as the primary resonating body for the sound.
drawn in / cast out
tide in / tide out
plane in / plane out
intimacy with glass sculpture
singers for a community of machines that fly
There’s a natural instinct to admire, but not touch glass. I’d like to motivate people to get closer to glass sculpture, to experience it unlike they normally do. There are things that you feel up close that you don’t far away.
Aircraft landing and taking-off are coming from and going to many places, are of different shapes and sizes, and use different engines. They are like different birds with different bodies, different people with different bodies, different beings with different lifestyles and different voices, meeting at a venue with its own acoustics and sounds of activity.”
Source and more images here
Thanks to Emma Hooper (University of Bath Spa UK) for this info.
No 19. Wrecked on the Intertidal Zone, a series of investigations into the Thames Estuary; YoHa; Paul Huxster; Andy Freeman; Matsuko Yokokoji ; Graham Harwood; Thames Estuary UK August 2014 – October 2015.
“The Thames estuary is a complex collection of objects, atmospheres and flows that cannot readily be reduced to scientific methods and models. The estuary is changing rapidly with new industrial infrastructure being constructed, such as the largest container port in the UK. The estuary’s sea marshes, tidal flats and muddy waters are critical wilderness zones for biodiversity conservation and species migration. Simultaneously, they are also zones for leisure and tourism, fishing grounds and the sites of historic wrecks.
This exploratory project, led by YoHa and The Arts Catalyst, is involving a network of local people, together with artists and technologists, in exploring how local people’s “situated” knowledge of the estuary can be combined with artistic investigations and citizen science techniques to explore and respond to a changing contested estuary together with its surrounding salt-marsh. By fostering an ecology of practices, Wrecked on the Intertidal Zone aims to generate a critical interest in the complex influences governing these delicate environments.
Through a series of participatory workshops, which began in Summer 2014, Wrecked on the Intertidal Zone will profile ways of structuring information from both situated knowledge (bird watchers, fisherman or mud-walkers) and verifiable methods (monitoring networks and ambient sensors), and will continue with further workshops and public realm art projects and artworks during 2015.
Participating artists include YoHa, Critical Art Ensemble and Andy Freeman.”
Source of above and more info on project website here
Nos 20 – 25 (so far); Time and Tide Bell Project; Marcus Vergette; UK; 2009 >
A permanent installation of 12 bells around the U.K. rung by the sea at high tide.
“This project is to make a permanent installation of the Time and Tide Bell at the high tide mark at a number of diverse sites around the country, from urban centres to open stretches of coastline. The rise of the water at high tide moves the clapper to strike the bell. Played by the movement of the waves, the bell creates a varying, gentle, musical pattern. As the effect of global warming increases, the periods of bell strikes will become more and more frequent, and as the bell becomes submerged in the rising water the pitch will vary.
The first bell was installed in July 2009 at Appledore, Devon: the second on Bosta beach Gt. Bernera, Outer Hebrides in June 2010: the third at Trinity Buoy Wharf, London in September 2010: the fourth installed in Aberdyfi, Wales, July 2011.”
Source of above, and more info, inc MP3s of chimes, here
No 26. Fast & Slow Time; Richard Forster; 2011; (UK)
Minima; 29 July 2011 – 18 November 2011
“An exhibition of 52 new drawings by North-East based British artist Richard Forster, in his first museum solo show. The drawings, completed over a calendar year, are a narrative that juxtaposes the shifting sea line at Saltburn-by-the Sea with the construction of pioneer social housing in eastern Germany.
A book containing a new short story by famous author Colm Toibin compliments the show.
Exhibition price £10.00.”
Richard Forster & Col Tóibín
25 x 17.7cm
The exhibition was curated in association with Ingleby Gallery Edinburgh”
“Fast And Slow Time is a collection of more than 50 artworks by Richard Forster and is his first solo museum exhibition.
The show presents three series of painstakingly executed graphite drawings which circumnavigate the upper gallery – 52 in total – made over the course of one calendar year.
Opening and closing the exhibition, two sequences of 14 drawings titled The Incoming Seas Edge document the incoming tide on the shore of Saltburn over the course of a few minutes in one morning in January 2010.
Photographs taken at set intervals from the pier are the starting point for the artistic process
The third sequence of 24 drawings, titled Twenty Four Stills from archival video witnessed in Bauhaus, Dessau, January 5, 2010 is drawn from documentary footage of the construction of pioneering social housing in the former Weimar Republic of Germany, the Törten Estate in Dessau.
Forster has long been interested in the concept of Ostalgie, the curious nostalgia amongst former East German residents for life in the DDR – the German Democratic Republic – and these drawings come from a research visit made to the Bauhaus archive in early 2010.
Fast and Slow Time presents a series of fleeting, seemingly arbitrary moments which are in fact chosen within a precise set of parameters, and re-presented through a painstaking process. Taken together, these come to represent a reflection on the very nature and action of time and memory.” (Scource).
No 27. Floodtide; John Eacott; 2014 – an running (Thames River UK) and participants elsewhere
Sonification of tidal flow
“Floodtide by John Eacott makes music from the movement of tidal water. A submerged sensor gathers information from the tidal flow that is converted into musical notation read from screens or mobile phones by musicians. In April 2014 we marked the installation of a permanent sensor at Trinity Buoy Wharf in Docklands, which allows live notation from the Thames to be streamed constantly from our website. Alongside this, the Floodtide Listening Post, a mechanical music machine made by sculptor Andrew Baldwin, is now installed permanently at Trinity Buoy Wharf, making the music audible to visitors. The piece has now been performed over 20 times at venues including Trinity Buoy Wharf, The Roundhouse, Royal Observatory Greenwich, Thames Festival, Southbank Centre and the Royal Shakespeare Company. Ensembles have included classical musicians, taiko drummers, and members of groups such as Tomorrow’s Warriors and Voice Lab. A full performance of Floodtide lasts around 6 hours, starting at low water and ending at high water, although shorter versions have been staged. The piece is a kind of ambient work in which the audience may drift in and out of the music, returning later to see how it has changed. No performance of Floodtide is the same, with the music being constantly affected by environmental factors such as wind, air pressure, rain, and even passing boats. Floodtide is a sonification of tidal flow.” (Source, more info, and take part here).
No 28. The Intertidal Cimema; London; 2014
Project Founder: Hannah Fasching
“London developed as a functioning port on the River Thames. As our infrastructure and industry move away from natural resources, how do we build new relationships with the natural environment.
Can the temporary spaces of the tidal Thames provide a unique space for social activity? The Intertidal Cinema attempts to transform the tidal beach of Deptford creek into a social space, transporting people back through the history of Deptford, told through a narrative of this unique place. Topographies of Deptford’s historical past are projected onto various structures, transforming the creek into an immersive social space.
The film tells a narrative of place through a conversation with the architecture itself to create a portrait of the urban landscape through the sites connected to how Deptford developed as a Dock. The voices of Deptford are used to animate various sites, the physical space takes on the voice of the social.
The Intertidal cinema will take place as part of the London Design Festival from the 13th-15th of September 2014.” (Source and more info here)
No 29. Sedimentsonority; Michaela Palmer; Severn Estuary; 2012
“Sedimentsonority is an art project that aims to model some of the sediment movements in the Severn Estuary, UK, using sound.
Translating the tidal mix of salt and freshwater, dispensed solids and biomatter into sound is truly fascinating, as here processes of self-organization become audible. Discovering and reflecting on this can reveal deeper philosophical issues, such as our often-limited understanding of water processes, or of how the world around us organizes itself. Exploring sediment characteristics via sound can lead to a deeper understanding of tidal landscapes and the complex processes they adhere to.
Sound is a medium we readily immerse ourselves in. Although the movements of estuary muds could be easily visualized (see map below), this process removes the viewer from the object it aims to explore. Indeed, not many art projects about water place the viewer/listener actually inside it. Yet the immersive viewpoint is valuable, as it allows us to re-experience a place with our senses.”
Develoiped and shown at Water : Image 4th – 6th July 2012 Conference to celebrate the 10th year of summer symposia organised by Land/Water and the Visual Arts Plymouth University, UK
More info inc more sounds here
No 30. Tidal Memory; Charles Sowers; San Francisco; 2013
“Using live data from the NOAA tide station near the Golden Gate Bridge, the twenty-four soaring columns in this exhibit display San Francisco Bay tide heights for the current day. As each hour ends, another column is locked off, preserving the tide height for that particular hour. Visitors can see the rising and falling tidal pattern—and contemplate the significance of the tides.
The tides create strong currents that move nearly one-fourth of the Bay’s total water volume in and out with each tidal cycle. These cycles affect every living thing in the Bay, influencing feeding, breeding, and migratory behaviors.” Source
Pic by Susan Spero source
(I think this now might be on permenant display at the San Francisco Exploratorium)
No 31. Soundings From The Estuary; Frank Watson; 2005 onwards; Thames Estuary; UK
“Soundings From The Estuary is an ongoing project that is inspired by the Thames Estuary’s industrial, architectural, and maritime past as well as the present threat to the existing terrain, from global warming and the expansion of London eastwards. The project since 2005 has incorporated the collecting of sound using ambient and spoken word pieces, photographs and video.
Since the inception of the project the Thames Estuary has become the focus of London’s search for more air space and the prospect of another London Airport. The debate as to whether the Estuary is a suitable site embraces a range of interested parties from air traffic control to the protection of migrant bird life. Much of the Estuary is perceived as a brown field site lacking the traditional attributes of the picturesque. Prominent features include landfill sites, prisons, oil refineries and industrial debris left scattered along the river’s foreshore, amongst which also lie industrial and military ruins. Yet despite its blighted public image, the Thames estuary does have a sense of place, albeit one that is dependent on the importance of the river itself and its relation to the history of the growth of London as a city. As London’s urban sprawl extends eastwards, the estuary is now perceived as a potential space for building new towns and another London airport. However, this scenario conflicts with predictions of rising sea levels from global warming that would subject much of the low lying marshland of the area to flooding. The Thames Estuary is a contested landscape, with both naturalists and environmentalists seeking to preserve the existing terrain from the threats posed to its future.
The artists Frank Watson and Germander Speedwell have produced work that evokes an overlooked and disappearing landscape that is unique if not melancholic and deserves protection and conservation.” Source and a lot more info here
A published book of this project is available from September 2014, comprising of 32 colour photographs with an accompanying essay by the writer, journalist and film-maker Jonathan Meades. See on our books about tides page
No 32. Estuart Lab: Wales (UK); Dyfi Esturary; concept by Jony Easterby
Llanw a thrai
Low Tide High Tide.
“Low tide at the mouth of the Dyfi estuary brings a no mans land of perfectly sculpted sand and water, full of latent energy transformation and life.
Great estuarine sands suck at your boots as you move out into the middle of the river, walking on water that will consume the land once again, as it did 13 hours ago and will again tomorrow and for ever as long as the moon circles the earth.
Canoeing across this great shifting river mouth looking for the illusive Flounder I become stranded and make way by foot. Clutching a homemade spear in hand with a friend by my side we walk around this newly uncovered land in a primal dream. A curious feeling of euphoria engulfs me, this is a new feeling, born I think from some long ago feeling of belonging, alongside the sense that this is a landscape we have lived and fed on in some previous life.
River Mouth drinks the sea
The rivers edge the seas shore
A Riverine, estuarine, saline meeting point.
Where fish change their spots.
Unmarkable unchartable riddle riparian zone
River Tide River Tide River Tide
Spate Dry Flood and Surge
water never still always pulled
Down stream and up moon.
Fluvial Settlement Sediment Nutrient
Sea level changes.
Jetties to nowhere.
Strand Lines and Flotsam.
Tide to flood and float
Months late this memory and emotion continues to touch and inspire me.”
Source of above and more info here
No 33. Walk the Tide; Scotland; 2013; Jo Hodges
A large scale participatory site specific performance event.
140 people marked the causeway from Kippford to Rough Island at low tide, linking land to island.
Collaboration with Florencia Garcia Chafuen.
Voice work by Ali Burns
Commission Making the Most of the Coast. Sept 2013