Waterborne

Audio work (24:31), from the 'Afterlife' series

  • French & Mottershead, Waterborne, Estuary 2016. Photo: Briony Campbell

  • French & Mottershead, Waterborne, Estuary 2016. Photo: Briony Campbell

  • French & Mottershead, Waterborne, Estuary 2016. Photo: Briony Campbell

  • French & Mottershead, Waterborne, Estuary 2016. Photo: Benedict Johnson

  • French & Mottershead, Waterborne, Estuary 2016. Photo: Benedict Johnson

  • French & Mottershead, Waterborne, Estuary 2016. Photo: Briony Campbell

  • French & Mottershead, Waterborne, Dark Mofo 2018. Photo: Jesse Hunniford

  • French & Mottershead, Waterborne, River Separates Water, Pittsburgh, USA, 2018. Photo: French & Mottershead

Waterborne describes the lyrical journey of a body as it traverses time and place, via a tidal river, an estuary and out to sea. Waterborne is the story of micro inhabitations, algae and the flow of matter. It meets the tides that dissolve the body through still then rushing waters, charting the long course of dislocation and decay.

Waterborne is experienced on board a boat or on the waterside, through a spoken narrative, written from forensic case studies of human bodies immersed in and transported by water, combined with site research on urban waterways and the tidal Thames.

Upcoming:
Port Adelaide, Vitalstatistix, Adelaide, Australia, 4-8 December, 2019

Exhibitions:
Compass Festival, Leeds, UK, 2018
River Separates Water, Wood Street Galleries, Pittsburgh, USA, 2018
Dark Mofo, Hobart, Australia, 2018
Anti Festival of Contemporary Art, Kuopio, Finland, 2017
Points of Departure, Estuary Biennial, London 2016

It’s a uniquely unnerving experience but for some reason, as we disembark,… all those who have been through it appear uplifted. Perhaps thankful they haven’t drowned, but definitely enriched by what is a genuinely remarkable piece.’ – Caught by the River

It’s an experience that mixes the putrid and the poetic, and manages, by bringing the participant face to face with death, to be wonderfully life-affirming.’ – ABC

Bleakly poetic and powerful work.’ – Artshub

the piece was so atmospheric, listening to the microscopic detail of what will happen to my dead body rotting in water, minute by minute, day by day. As I often say ‘we are breathing in Socrates as we speak’, and indeed, we are. Nothing is lost, it just recirculates.’ – participant feedback

Being escorted away from the rest of the festival, and separated from all other activities helped me be completely immersed in the work. Floating above the water’s surface with the gentle and silent rocking of the vessel connected me to the rhythm of the recited words. The potency of the script – which I found technically brilliant and poetically beautiful – amplified my imagination, whilst the proximity to the River evoked a feeling of submersion; as if my own body was decomposing, just as that which was being described. The experience was harrowing, and yet, made the subject of death and decay fascinating and exquisite. Truly powerful.’ – participant feedback