a Hypercube for the Conder

a commissioned artistbook for the Entangled Festival, Morecambe, run by Ensemble, Lancaster University

The term ‘hypercube’ was coined by a team of scientists from Lancaster University and consultants from JBA, Skipton, as a web-based model for blending various data streams in flood risk management. This flexigon is an artistic response to their work. Living near the mouth of the Conder river, I witnessed its 2015 and 2017 flooding and wanted to focus on it for this commission.

I wanted to approach this project with as much sensitivity as possible, given I am dealing with a real life situation rather just theoretical modelling

This hypercube blends data from
https://nrfa.ceh.ac.uk/data/station/info/72014
http://es-websupp.lancs.ac.uk/hazelrigg/
https://flood-warning-information.service.gov.uk/warnings
https://twitter.com/ #galgate #flooding #22-23November2017
and info from
https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2667010021000433
https://www.ensembleprojects.org/promoting-a-more-data-driven-approach-to-flood-risk-management-in-the-age-of-big-data/
https://luneriverstrust.org.uk/

It is made on 120gsm Accent Antique paper from GFSmith, acid free, FSC certified.

Other forms of data this paper hypercube doesn’t have the space for, that its digital counterpart will, are soil moisture and building impact. And therein lies conflict. This has been commissioned by Lancaster University I am aware of the potential pressures developments at Bailrigg and other new building projects near Ou and Burrow Becks as well as the Conder will exert on those rivers and existing communities, as well as the importance of natural flood management in the upper catchment area.

On the morning I went flysampling with Allen Norris, at the Forrest Hills sampling site (Monday 15th August 2021), he took in vivo samples of 163 beatis nymphs (agile darter upwing flies), 1 blue winged olive, 2 heptagenid (flat stone clingers) almost too small to see without a lens, 1 cased caddis, 21 caseless caddis, 7 stoneflies and 13 gammarus. This sample of the insects in this pool of the Conder represents 7 of the 8 taxons which, according to Allen, means pretty clean and biodiverse water.

These creatures have been living on the riverways for millennia, since before the dinosaurs. Let’s hope they continue to have a rich and fruitful life to enable the rest of the planet to be as rich and diverse.

Thanks are due to
Nick Chappell; Claire Dean; Mandy Dike; Liz Edwards; Sarah James; Rob Lamb; Allen Norris; Vatsala Nundloll; Ben Rigby; Will Simm; Floris Tomasini

Walk with Us

From August 2020 – July 2022 I’m part of a team of creative practitioners (Maya Chowdhry and Alex Peckham) making an augmented reality walk in partnership with the National Oceanography Centre for the seafronts of Dawlish (pictured) and Penzance.

The walk incorporates data from a new NOC ‘wirewall’ and existing local monitoring sites on wave height and speed, water levels, tides, beach movement, wind and other weather info into a fictional narrative. There’ll be stopping points along the seafront (and beach, tide permitting) that offer people to re-view the sea, beach and seawall. Through spoken word and visuals we’ll explore coastal erosion, climate change and the oceanic ecology, asking what is coastal resilience. By July 2022 we should have an entertaining walk that illuminates the work of the NOC, and past and future changes in the coastal environment.

‘Walk With Us’ offers two self-guided walks along the sea fronts of Penzance and Dawlish, launching in July 2022.

In Penzance Six Lessons in Walking a Tightrope leads you from from Newlyn Art Gallery to the Jubilee Pool. Using audio, augmented realities and weather and ocean data, it balances the line between celebrating our world as it is now and accepting its changes.

Dive in Dawlish takes you from the railway station along the seawall to Coryton Cove on a magical underwater walk.  Blending science fiction with immersive visuals, you will descend into the ocean while never actually getting your feet wet. Exploring themes of coastal erosion and climate change, ‘Walk With Us’ is for everybody interested in the sea, what lives in it, and how it affects us.

More info here

Forces of Nature

August 2019 I was part of a two week residency in Brighton with artists of various disciplines to explore how we might explore and communicate our feelings towards the climate crisis. This audio book was part of the accompanying exhibition, and holds the Towards a Stranding soundscape. It was made in collaboration with sound artist Kathy Hinde, whose expertise in embedding the arduino transformed the oversized, tactile landscape of text and card into an intimate audio experience.

More info on what we got up to in the residency is here

One Day Plus

Here you’ll find all the offline provocations for our One Day Plus Imaginarium.

The recordings are designed for you to write alongside them, with recorded silence in which to write. You can, of course, switch off the audio at any time, and set your own alarm, repeat a provocation that works better than another, or make notes towards a thing rather than write the thing itself.

Each provocation is timed to give you space to faddle before and after it. If you need an early lunch then obviously slot it in to suit you. The sequence intends to grow and widen your thinking/dreaming.

1200-1230 Provocation One
A New Music: hearing the music or rhythm in your project.

This provocation works out of the thought that each new piece of writing has a particular voice, or music, that will lead you though the making of it. You’ll need: a piece of writing from earlier, an influencer book, and sheets of blank A4. When you’re ready, press play.


1330-1400 Provocation Two
Its Creatureliness: How does it feel?

This exercise approaches your idea / project / writing from a different angle: as another being, an embodied feeling thing. It asks you to identify moments that illuminate the larger feeling of the body of the project, and consider its shape or form through any changes that occur. You’ll need: whatever you use to write


1430-1500 Provocation Three
The terrain: What is contained within your piece?

Press play and gather around you what you’ll need: all the bits and pieces of your project: the previous writings, photos, influencer books, the music – all the things that have brought you to this point, this piece / project – and spread them on the floor or table top.


1500-1530 Provocation Four
A Tethering: The final writing session for now, discovering where your imagining, exploring and poking have brought you. Fifteen minutes to flesh out an aspect of the project. Write slowly, write carefully, write for the full fifteen minutes if you can.

Sudley Field

As part of Almanac Arts and RISE Festival, Liverpool-based poet Helen Tookey was commissioned to write some work in response to an exhibition. She chose Shanghai Sacred (photographs by Liz Hingley, with Cheng Hangfeng) showing at the Victoria Gallery & Museum, Liverpool, 7 June – 28 September 2019. Once written she thought it would be an opportunity to show or present the work in a way that somehow spoke further to the exhibition.

She asked me if I’d be interested in making an artistbook to hold the work. I’ve really enjoyed making books to fit to other people’s work  in the past and jumped at the chance to work with an extended piece of Helen’s work. 

It was a series of fragmented prose pieces, prose poems and poems that entered into an eerie space of a field she walks in Liverpool. There is a sense of the hidden, the dark, the dying and glimmers of past threaded through the work.  We discussed ways of coming to the work, how it might unfold, and how it would interact with the work it responded to, and what form might the structure take to best reveal or conceal the text. Our first work bench was a pool table which gave us the space and perhaps the playful eye to muck about and find a way of setting the work with remarkable ease. We seemed to have similar sensibilities towards the work which made the conversation and questions smooth and energising. 

We decided on a drop down scroll that offered a neat, simple-to-read form, that could either be contained within a hand, or fall in a long cascade that the reader would have to follow, succumb to. It seemed elegant, surprising and uncluttered. In many ways, an echo of Helen’s work. 

When Helen first approached me I was feeling rather overwhelmed by other projects so said I could design and mock up one then show her how to cut and paste the work. She embraced the job brilliantly, made 30 editions that are now out in various hideyholes in Liverpool for people to discover, like the world of the field, the footsteps of each panel that tread through it. 

 

Changing shores

Earlier this summer, 2019, the National Oceanography Centre and Sefton Council approached me to work with them on creating a narrated coastal walk along Crosby’s shoreline, north of Liverpool. The plan was, through bringing together science and the arts, to raise awareness of shoreline change and coastal hazards, to actualize and make intimate the sense of movement and uncertainty that occurs along the coast. The poems capture changes in land use, coastal processes, shoreline management and observational techniques. They are located at five points along the Crosby shoreline, and can be heard in any order.  By becoming more aware of changing coastal conditions, we hope people will act as advocates in shaping how communities better prepare future change.

You can  download the GPS waypoints and MP3s here  or watch them here, accompanied by pics if you can’t get to the beach.

The project, Building coastal community resilience: preparedness through poetry, was funded by AGU Celebrate 100 grants.

The rest of the team can be found on twitter:  @Wirewall_NOC  @GreenSefton_

Becoming Sea

From 2016-2019 I was funded by the NWCDTP to research creative and critical approaches to writing about the sea. This included exploring details of marine biology (with a particular interest on what can’t be easily seen: plankton, deep sea life, and man-made pollution) and my phenomenological experience of the sea. I received my PhD from the University  Liverpool in October 2019.
You can read the critical component of the thesis here .The creative portfolio, melt, is due to be published by Waterloo Press in Autumn 2020

Recent writings related to this project can be found on Liverpool University’s  Citizen of Everywhere blog and Literature and Science hub. 

You can listen to a 15 minute talk I gave in Durham late 2017 about short-sightedness and becoming here: