I’m glad to be able to share these first few responses to the Queer River Wet Land performance score, written with Minty Donald, ahead of the Queer River Wet Land Sharing Event this coming Thursday, 25th November from 5 to 6.30 pm.
Carolyn Black – Rising Tides
‘The banks of the Severn contain, and succumb to, the tides. As the moon circles the earth oceans bulge forcing riverways to press up against their edges, overflow, then spread. When it breaks its banks it seeps along pathways and puddles in hollows. It races inland looking for routes to travel, or soft earth to sink into, weaving between rocks and walls, ignoring roads and railways. Humans can only stand and stare, from high on a hilltop.
Manmade barriers resist the river water and divert it to more gullible places, like fields and ditches. When the flash floods come in, fast and furious, they spread across the landscape, where the earth soaks it up to level the land. When the water recedes and the grass grows back, the field is like a billiard table – smooth, green, fertile and luscious.
The Severn has gendered mythologies ascribed to it of Sabrina and Hafren. Now, with climate change causing more flooding than ever, there is a tautness at the edges of the river. A tension not unlike the skin of a woman stretched over an unborn child. The edges are becoming blurred, strained until the waters break. Pregnant with what is to come.
In twenty years time this river I know so well will no longer be a river. It will be underwater, bar a few hills protruding above sea level. Islands. A river reborn, reconstructed. It is queer to think about this nearby future, but think, we must. To make us act. Now.’
Gerry O’Brien – Water Way
‘My name is Gerard O’Brien (known mostly as Gerry) and I’m a landscape architect by trade, but work for Architecture & Design Scotland at the moment. When not in that world I engage in a lot of creative endeavours.
I’ve responded to your score which I thoroughly enjoyed. It’s a basic written film in a sense. The piece I’ve sent you is based on an encounter with the burn (stream) that flows at the bottom of our communal garden… called Burdiehouse Burn, to the best of my knowledge. It is within Burdiehouse Burn Valley Park.‘
Susan Merrick – Muddiness (Blackwater River)
‘I wanted to accept the invitation to respond to the Queer River performance score as a chance to consider my own longstanding connection to river edges, but also to explore my own queerness and what that means to me right now in my life. ‘Muddiness’ considers the ever changing relationship we have with ourselves and others, and connects it to the ever changing relationship that the river has within it’s environment, how it both shapes and is shaped.’
Susan Merrick is a multidisciplinary artist living and working in Hampshire, she hosts a podcast called ‘Woman Up!’ and runs a project called Conversations with Aldershot, exploring the voices of her local town and how art can be the tool to share these stories.
Dr Helen Clarke and Dr Sharon Witt (Attention2Place) – Becoming Lost With Meon
‘Working with feminist, posthumanist, and new materialist perspectives we were keen to respond to the Queer River performance score as it provided an opportunity to explore the wateriness of a local Hampshire river and experiment with the language of animacy. Water has been a constant refrain in our research within educational contexts. As educators, we come from science and geography disciplines but work in transdisciplinary ways, increasingly informed by arts-based practices. Our film celebrates how pedagogical encounters that are sensory, embodied and practice-led, can disrupt and break boundaries by deepening engagement, developing response-ability (Haraway, 2016) and considering nature/culture relations.’
Teresa Humphrey (via Twitter)