Monday, 24 April 2017

“ The opposite point seems more a tongue of land
you’d touch with a good bowshot, at the narrow.
A great wild fig, a shaggy mass of leaves,
grows on it, and Charybdis lurks below
to swallow down the dark sea tide. Three times
from dawn to dusk she spews it up
and sucks it down again three times, a whirling
maelstrom; if you come upon her then
the god who makes the earth tremble could not save you.”

(Odyssey, 212; 119-127)

Friday, 7 April 2017

Sabrina and the Long View

With new (under)currents re-mixing the waters of the Severn Estuary, Somerset Levels, Shannon Estuary and the Wadden Sea, these are some muddy notes freshly dredged up and now drying off in the sun...

Sunday, 16 August 2015

Sabrina Dreaming, Coasting, Diving

A recent invitation to present some installation works at the 2015 Lydney Harbour Festival provided an opportune point at which to draw to a close the first phase of the Sabrina Dreaming creative residency project, funded by the Leverhulme Trust.

Saturday, 3 January 2015

Fieldwork and Filming

My first encounter with the Severn - in school, in print - was this bit from Henry IV (pt 1): 
"When on the gentle Severn's sedgy bank
In single opposition, hand-to-hand
He did confound the best part of an hour
In changing hardiment with great Glendower
Three times they breathed and three times did
 they drink,
 Upon agreement, of swift Severn's flood;
 Who then, affrighted with their bloody looks,
 Ran fearfully among the trembling reeds,
 And hid his crisp head in the hollow bank,
 Bloodstained with these valiant combatants..."

Sunday, 31 August 2014

Aliveness Machines, Shadows and Undercurrents

Posting up here the content of a presentation - by NOVA - at the RGS annual conference recently. This is a collaborative project with Jon Pigott. The geographical genesis of the project - in the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve of North Devon - lies slightly beyond the limits of the Severn Estuary, but arguably still within this 'bio-region'. Strictly speaking, the River Torridge flows into the Bristol Channel. However, for the Sabrina Dreaming residency, I tend to regard the Severn Estuary as encompassing the whole tidal waterbody spilling out between Wales and the West Country.

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Sabrina Abroad

Freshly returned from a repeat visit to the waters and islands of the Waddensee (Netherlands); there for a presentation of work-in-progress for my Sabrina Dreaming artist residency and the wider context of the Submerged (Drowned Lands) project. In the manner of previous blog-postings, I'm kicking off this report with trio of ship's names...

Monday, 2 June 2014

Troubled Waters

Returning to my oblique mini-topic of ship’s names, and this time the very appropriately named Sabrina, who it seems has part of Antarctica named after her - The Sabrina Coast (above).

“Sabrina Coast is that portion of the coast of Wilkes Land, Antarctica, lying between Cape Waldron and Cape Southard. John Balleny has long been credited with having seen land in March 1839. The United States Exploring Expedition under Lt. Charles Wilkes approached this coast in February 1840 and indicated its general configuration as shown in part by "Totten High Land" on his 1840 chart...

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Severn Estuary Research Continues

A few days ago I had the pleasure of paying a visit to the Aust Goddess (figurine; replica) and Gail Boyle (museum curator; real). This Iron-age/early Roman bronze figurine was found around 1900 at the muddy coast of Aust, on the Severn Estuary near Bristol. The original now resides in the British Museum in London...

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

The Aust Goddess and other findings

A mini-theme that seems to be emerging during my early coastal residency explorations is that of boat names. The third vessel to be now added to this roll-call is the Shamal (a wind that blows across Persia, it seems):

"shamal,  hot and dry, dusty wind from the north or northwest in Iraq, Iran, and the Arabian Peninsula. In June and July it blows almost continuously, but usually under 50 km (about 30 miles) per hour. The wind causes great dust storms, especially in July, when Baghdad may experience five or more such storms."...

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Bores, Roars and Boars

My early fossicking (and noodling) activities related to this Gloucester-based residency have lured me further upstream, away from my more familiar haunts near Avonmouth and to the south along the Severn Estuary. The coastal landscape here has a very different quality. There is a strangeness, compounded no doubt by the presence of the looming bulks of the two nuclear power stations, within view of each other (Oldbury and Berkeley). But here too is an extensive remnant coastal salt-marsh zone, and the gradual transition from estuary to river waterscape. The opposite bank is now close enough to easily make out individual buildings, vehicles, even people. There are remains of jetties scattered on both sides, marking the once busy river-crossing points...

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Making Space For Water

Some of the following is re-published from

Some context for Sabrina Dreaming:

Undeniably - in the case of England - the predominant theme, to date, in 2014 has been water/flooding/storms. There are strong indications that climate instability is ushering in periods of global extreme weather, with potentially very significant social and landscape implications...

Monday, 20 January 2014

The Tide Is High

A Creative 'Slow Residency'
Beginning in Spring 2014, Sabrina Dreaming (Severn Estuary Tidelands) sets out to creatively reimagine this estuary coastline and floodplain, through an interweaving of the scientific (landscape study, pollution, flooding etc); the social/cultural (working lives, folklore, built heritage etc); and the imaginative (stories, myths, poetry, inspirations etc). The terms geopoetic and deep mapping can be useful in describing this kind of remixed, hybrid exploration of a place.
In this year-long experimental project, the surreal and unsettling qualities of a dream will come into play, anchored in the real, physical, sensuous experience of these tidelands and tidewaters (including entanglements with other tidal coasts around the world)...