HydraCity – towards Watery Commons

HydraCity – towards Watery Commons.

Hydracity creates a tentacular fluid celebration of the shifting powers of water as it flows down the Thames. As we look beyond into a fluid future – our cities ever thirsty for water – flowing into an uncertain present, the Hydra, an organism whose legendary regenerative ability provides extra-ordinary metaphors for the Thames’ own regenerative powers. HydraCity invites artists to uncover and investigate the river basin of the Metropole with all the interlocking forms, ideas, and currents that flow in and out of Thames waters; a range of interactions with the liquid undercurrents that flow into and along the tidal Estuary.

The proposed exhibition forms the culmination of InspiralLondon aquatic researches, art projects, on the ground mapping and commissioning; alongside other long-term sustained international artist research practices, projects and works.

Watery Commons (InspiralLondon project 2020-2022) is a fluid, open celebration of the shifting powers of water;  exploring together the metropolis’ consumption and management of the natural and artificial souces of water – a vital resource that simultaneously sustains and threaten London’s infrastructure. What is the future? How do we encourage other ways of seeing and experiencing the watery commons; uncover, discover and recover the spiritual well-being inherent in this watery realm while acknowledging the climate crisis; the role of the tidal barrier, other defences; the wetlands, the threat of inundation or in the annual flooding – healing potential. Finally, how water, fundamental to life, suggests other fluid states of being, other realms, circulations and possibilities.

“As watery, we experience ourselves less as isolated entities, and more as oceanic eddies:

I am a singular, dynamic whorl dissolving in a complex, fluid circulation.

The space between ourselves and our others is at once as distant as the primeval sea,

yet also closer than our own skin—the traces of those same oceanic beginnings

still cycling through us, pausing as this bodily thing we call “mine.”

Water is between bodies, but of bodies,

before us and beyond us, yet also very presently this body, too.”

(Neimanis, Astrida. “Hydrofeminism: Or, On Becoming a Body of Water.” P.96 –in Undutiful Daughters: Mobilizing Future Concepts, Bodies and Subjectivities in Feminist Thought and Practice, eds. Henriette Gunkel, Chrysanthi Nigianni and Fanny Söderbäck. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012.)

Rivers & Streams (le livre du ruisseau – published September 2019) – Christine Breton et al


A number of new Artist Projects and Commissions were launched in 2020, including artistic events, walks and publications created from intense period of artistic R &D (2015-18).

Following the July 21-22 Night/Day walking relay – a logistical and artistic experiment for the proposed 36 segment relay week – InspiralLondon is supporting two new commissions and two new map pamphlets.

A commission for soundcamp forthcoming/postcoming (Sept 2019/2020); the publication ‘J D Swann’s Guide to InspiralLondon and Kent’ (A.A.A.B.A.M and inspirallondon CIC) and revised soundcamp phamplet (July 2018/Sept 2020); Darks a distillation of Anne Robinson’s festival commission; revised Street Tree Twinning pamphlet by Rachel Gomme. Further publications to follow.