Bobby and Stillman, our collaboration with mathematicians from UCL’s Big Data Institute is getting a long run at the UCL Science Library.
UCL Science Library, Malet Place, London WC1E 6BT 020 7679 7795
Monday to Friday 09:30 – 20:45, Saturdays 11:00 – 17:45
July 27th. – September 22nd. 2017
Susi and/or Crispin will be in the gallery on July 28th August 1st&2nd, 9th&10th, 19th, 23rd, 30th September 4th, 22nd.
Digital recordings are data, as well as pictures & sounds… UCL Science Library is screening immersive art; the tides in central London as subject matter for a series of films playing with time, space, sampling and perception. A collaboration between a film-maker, a photographer, and mathematicians from UCL’s Big Data Institute, using Eulerian & Lagrangian approaches to fluid dynamics – and touching on the uncertainty principle.
A new tidal collaboration with Dr Susi Arnott. This time we’re working with Prof. Sofia Olhede as part of UCL’s Creative Reactions science-art project.
Two time-lapse cameras (Bobby and Stillman), each accompanied by a stereo sound recorder, eye each-other as the tide rises around them close to London Bridge. Together they create a dialogue between a fixed vantage point and an erratic floating viewpoint.
Each camera shot 18,843 images during a 12-hour tidal cycle. One photo was taken every two seconds. The two attached sound recorders produced a total of almost 20 hours of continuous audio. All this constituted our ‘data’.
Many art-science projects assume that the artists will produce a subjective ‘creative’ response to the scientists’ objective research. There is an assumption here that scientific work is not creative, or interpretative. We hope to upend this, or at least level the creative playing field. Both scientific statistician Prof. Olhede and ourselves will find ways to respond to our data and present it in different ways.
Currently we have edited two synchronised 37 minute time-lapse films: one looking at the water, the other immersed in the water, each camera looking at the other. But how do we reconcile the sampling of the visual scene every two seconds by the cameras, with the continuous audio? Future posts will explore this issue.
Prof. Olhede is a statistical scientist; amongst other sources, she’s worked with oceanographers on data from ocean research buoys. She and her colleagues are working on a creative response, as scientists; and this is to our raw data, rather than to our completed time-lapse films.
Sunday 23rd October was Open Day at the Crossness Pumping Station. The ‘Thames Tides’ installation, created by Susi Arnott and I, screened throughout the day alongside the mighty beam engines. You can still catch the show this Friday 28th Oct. Details and photos below.
Crossness Pumping Station. Friday 28th Oct. 2016
Where? Crossness Pumping Station
The Old Works, Thames Water S.T.W. Bazalgette Way, Abbey Wood, London SE2 9AQ
When? Friday 28th Oct. Public guided tour from 10am-1pm. Booking is required for this – through Eventbrite on the Crossness website. Cost is £12 and includes tea and biscuits.
Parking available outside site on Bazalgette Way. Walkers/cyclists gain access via the pedestrian access pathway – at end of Bazalgette Way on left BEFORE thames water security gate.
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…
With thanks to Mwende, Beth, Lydia, Jadida & The Donkey Sanctuary
Aid policy and interventions can raise very complex issues but in drought ridden Mwingi in NE Kenya the role of donkeys is really very simple. Without donkeys, people and their livestock cannot survive.
Donkeys form the vital final link in the distribution of water, food, firewood, fertiliser, grain and market goods.
This is Mwende holding the skull of Mutawr one of the nine cattle and ten goats she lost in the drought of 2009.
‘Allied to the bottom of the river rather than the surface, by reason of the slime and ooze with which it was covered, and its sodden state, this boat and the two figures in it obviously were doing something that they often did, and were seeking what they often sought.
But, it happened now, that a slant of light from the setting sun glanced into the bottom of the boat, and, touching a rotten stain there which bore some resemblance to the outline of a muffled human form, coloured it as though with diluted blood.’ Charles Dickens, Our Mutual Friend
In 2006 this exhibition of 2.5 metre wide panoramic images was exhibited at the Museum of London in Docklands with a soundtrack by Susi Arnott. While making the work I was thinking as much about Dickens, Melville and Poe as about climate change but as rising sea levels have become a more urgent concern the images have gathered a renewed interest. Panos Pictures are currently running the work as one of their stories: http://www.panos.co.uk/stories/2-13-1494-1988/Crispin-Hughes/Unquiet-Thames/
‘Resilience’ is the latest buzzword in social, environmental and international development circles. Donkeys are known for their physical resilience in the face of drought and abuse by humans but they can also help women’s resilience in poor communities.
Tumme Konton, her husband Sisay and their children live in a tiny settlement called Adankonsole, near the small market town of Soguba, not far from the Kenyan border in Ethiopia.
Although she has no running water, sanitation or electricity, she would not think of herself as poor – in fact she has some status in her community. She has a good stock of animals, including a donkey, which enables her to provide for her family. The Donkey Sanctuary are using this simple story to illustrate the importance of their work in Ethiopia to the lives of people as well as animals.
Tumme and her family get up shortly before dawn, at about 5.30am, to milk their small herd of cattle and camels.
The family need water; next job is to fetch this with the help of the family’s donkey, Bukke.
Back home, the water containers are taken off and milk containers loaded onto his back. Bukke must now carry the camel and cow’s milk to the trading point on the highway at Soguba, three kilometres away.
The family and their donkeys walk the three kilometres to Soguba. Bukke knows the way and doesn’t need to be led. He breaks into a trot for the last part of the journey.
Once at Soguba, Tumme and the other local women producers decant their milk into yet other containers for a trader to transport them by bus. Each container has been permanently marked to show who has supplied the milk; a way of accounting, without demanding literacy.
Each day the trader transports hundreds of litres of milk to Kenya on the roof of the bus. The following day he pays the women producers, returns their empty, marked containers and collects the next load of milk.
Bukke’s working day is over. The family take him home and rest him.
Having a healthy donkey makes it possible for Tumme, and the other women, to make an income and take part directly in an international market for their produce.
Tumme jokes that Bukke’s importance in the family is somewhere between that of her husband and her children.