Hydracity – Towards Watery Commons

An Exhibition with a unique programme of Hydrodetour walks, performances, and interactive artworks at Thames-side Studio Gallery

To book a place on a Hydrodetour walk go to inspiral eventbrite

Or check exhibition opening times, individual walk workshop/events and up to date info here


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Hydracity – Towards Watery Commons grows out of InspiralLondon’s recent investigations and on the ground mapping of the Metropole. Hydracity asks us to observe and imagine London and its hinterland in new ways, by inviting artists and audiences to re-experience this fluid, shifting and untameable environment. What is it that circulates beneath our feet oozing from the muddy delta of the Thames as we explore the interconnected labyrinth of watery commons intersecting urban spaces, that flow across, through and into us?

This exhibition and events programme focus on our experience of these watery commons while exploring fluid collective co-creation. You are invited to collaborate in this artistic project to reimagine the city as a watery ecosystem, by re-experiencing the city as a space shaped by water, and in re-imagining this watery commons.

Hydracity also re-imagines the city’s river system as slowly evolving hydra-like tentacled organism. By observing water – its capacity to merge fluidity and solidity – we can see it as a regenerative resource and even a metaphor for shifting times.  This ever-changing environment of the aqueous commons reflects something of the hydra-like city, whose ability to rejuvenate offers overlapping narratives for this complex watery labyrinth. For the exhibition at Thames-side Gallery InspiralLondon creates a unique sculptural labyrinth map that interacts with other activities, archives, experiences and with potential walks across the city.

Artists, artist groups and collectives have been invited to contribute to Hydracity, by coming together in this search for our watery commons. The exhibition hopes to launch a number of specially commissioned public artworks that includes Hydrodetours guided walks; performances; sound and sculptural installation; performative lectures; films and an interactive watery archive. Together, we make set of alternative narratives for places, people and the landscape within London’s Thames basin by immersing ourselves in different ways of understanding the city’s waterways, and in experiencing the complex ecosystems and surprising biodiversity sustained by them.

InspiralLondon is an artistic exploration of London’s urban environment and ecology through on the ground mapping with the aim to create a network of alternative histories, stories and experiences of the commons. This collective art project is an opportunity for artists to re-imagine the Thames Delta as a fluid and dream-like ecosystem, unpredictable, ever shifting and dissolving and ultimately mysterious.

Preview event: Friday 10 September 2021, 6-9pm, exhibition opens Saturday 11 September 2021

Exhibition dates: Saturday 11 – Sunday 26 September 2021   Open Thursday-Sunday, 12-5pm

Public Events, touring and Hydrodetours (all dates subject to funding and Covid restrictions) – 11 September to 31 October

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. 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.


“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.)

Events planned (Subject to funding and Covid restrictions) include 10 unique artist-led Hydrodetour walks, 6 other workshop and community events; made collectively and individually with Inspiral Associate Artists working with professional London guides & with partners to co-create set of unique walking art experiences. SEE events

Or visit Royal Borough of Greenwich website