Beneath Dark House Walk in central London, a plastic duck is locked in a time-lapse selfie. On the rising tide, they’re lifted by the Thames and generate visual and audio readouts as they experience the river. Is that a fixed grin, or a Kuleshov experiment?
Meanwhile, a fixed observer watches them from above. And listens. And makes its own recordings. Frames of reference, timescales and data visualisation are juxtaposed in this composite film that plays with place, perception and point of view.
Originating from our work on tides with data scientist Prof. Sophia Olhede, this film combines the human compulsion to anthropomorphise with a random aesthetic and the plot of a picaresque novel. ‘She dreamed she was delivered of a tennis-ball, which the devil (who, to her great surprise, acted the part of a midwife) struck so forcibly with a racket that it disappeared in an instant; and she was for some time inconsolable for the lost of her offspring; when, all on a sudden, she beheld it return with equal violence, and enter the earth, beneath her feet’. From p.1 of ‘Roderick Random’ by Tobias Smollett, pub.1748.
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.
I’m delighted to see a photograph from Unquiet Thames on the cover of Sarah Maguire’s selected poems. Due for publication on Aug. 20th this year; I’ll look forward to reading her tactile, imagist poems again.
‘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/