Thursday 6th May 2021 to
Thursday 30th September 2021
Hydracity brings artists and public together to investigate London’s watery network, the interlocking ideas & currents that flow in/out the Thames. We focus on collective co-creation through on the ground mapping, ecology, the environment and placemaking; creating a network of alternative histories for our watery commons that invite audiences to collaborate in re-imagining the city as a fluid ecosystem, by exploring: other narratives for places, people, landscape within Thames Valley; novel ways to experience together and understand the city’s waterways; complex ecosystems of cohabiting/cooperating; our own body as watery ecosystem within wider watery commons – in the merging of solidity and fluidity; water as a regenerative resource for shifting times. All activities reflect something of the hydra-like city, whose legendary regenerative ability offers overlapping narratives for this complex watery network.
Hydracity 2021 is an ambitious, timely, transformational programme of work, linked to a novel programme of co-creation, open workshops & public engagement. The activity is delivered by a wide range of artists, artist collectives & multidisciplinary partners across London. along the Thames and out into the Estuary. Hydracity re-imagines the city’s river system as one organism with a slow-motion evolution like a hydra’s looping locomotion; in geological time the estuary extends and retracts according to prevailing conditions. By reimagining the city as space of water, we track the nature of the radical changes, wrought on the Valley’s watery arteries and create other future visions, other liquid states, other understandings.
During 2021 and into 2022, Hydrodetours creates a series of novel walking workshops for the public, to join IL’s on the ground mapping, exchanging and sharing knowledge and histories both online or where possible in walking events: located in the landscape, on waterways, online and within safe venues, exploring current issues of climate change, environmental protection & variety of ongoing ecological challenges. The project employs forms of alternative/collective practice, with artists working with local communities, groups and partners to explore watery commons’ rich and often overlooked stories, bringing new audiences to a deeper understanding of Thames Valley ecosystem.
See the programme here
About the project
“Walking, a practice of on the ground mapping, allows us to imagine together other cities, different times, and worlds, as we confront the reality of our ever-changing metropoles.” (Charlie Fox, 2017)
InspiralLondon is an ambitious artist-led metropolitan trail, a collective on the ground mapping, creating a new walk trail winding in and out of London. This anti-clockwise spiral walk begins at Kings Cross, unwinding from its centre point six times, to finally end at Gravesend, only to begin again. This unique Metropolitan trail crosses the River Thames at ten locations, using bridges, foot tunnels, a cable car and ferries. The Inspiral Trail is coordinated by InspiralLondon CIC, and was an original idea conceived by counterproductions in 2013 as a partner project of Metropolitan Trails International and Metropolitan Trails Academy.
InspiralLondon facilitates and curates artworks, research and interventions that interrogate the city and its hinterlands, with particular focus on: placemaking, experience culture and emotional capitalism, urban ecology and sustainable futures, community and well-being. Initial on the ground mapping (2015-19) examined ways of thinking of Urban Space as an other environment: the potential shape and direction of walking route/s; how we experience the city; how we encourage artistic – experimental, social & ecological – approaches to, and other ways of being in and intervening in the city. InspiralLondon's principle activity remains exploration –in ‘on the ground mapping’ - sharing experiences together in the places, landscapes, or with the people, who join our tours and detours.
The trail is an invitation for all to explore, rediscover and reconnect with our city; to begin to rethink the urban, the metropolitan and its relation to other/ness/places. Over 5 years – crossing drained marsh, the courses of dried up streams, boggy overgrown riverside, canals, drainage trenches, even under piped rivers, streams and along the artificial canalised New River, returning without fail to press our feet into the muddy foreshore of the Tidal Thames and its major tributaries, we remain awed and inspired by London’s watery geometry.
Now InspiralLondon embarks upon another voyage of discovery, by raft, kayak, in waders and boots or by boat to investigate – Hydrodetours on the fluid ground – something of the Thames Valley Basin’s rich undervalued watery commons, detouring and exploring along and among its watery terrain. In order to understand its complexity and its variety but also to create a new sense of value and wonder within its beautiful biodiversity.
In these times of rapid extinction, climate upheaval and ecological crisis Hydracity takes time to celebrate and share together the extraordinary and unexpected, hidden within the Metropole’s watery veins and shifting flows. We share our stories and activities allowing other public/s to navigate these fluid times, building together walking rafts to the future.