It’s 3rd Feb… and the water keeps on coming. All waterways are swollen to bursting, and dangerous, almost across the entire country, and more flood warnings have been issued today in Oxford. It’s incredible, just incredible. Figures show that parts of England have had their wettest January since records began more than 100 years ago.
Anyway, this is making me think about water in a different way. Ordinarily carefully preserved and measured, weather reports are showing polluted, overflowing excesses of water. Wildlife conservation is one of the things being blamed for water channels not having been sufficiently dredged over the past few years, and consequently unable to channel the quantities of water properly.
I’ve been thinking about water butts, and containers – vessels that we usually use to capture and contain ‘good’ water. My thoughts have turned to preserving this ‘bad’ water, and the various layers of history that it’s churning up in something that viewers might be able to relate to on a domestic level. I like the thought of the physicality of the selection below that I’ve found online, and that I’m considering using for my Wait ’til it Settles installation that’ll form part of the Inspired by the canal exhibition at the Jam Factory. I like the idea that, with some effort, they’re portable, so people might move them around in a restaurant environment, unsettling the waters. And I like the thought that, in the event of an emergency, one might wait til the muddy waters settle and then syphon the clean water off the top – ignoring the history, the old, settled murky water, and hoping for the best for the future.
Whatever containers are used in the end, I’d like them to be as transparent as possible so visitors can see what’s within (exposing the interior of a canal – laying it bare); and I’d like them to be mainly different in shape and form, just as the water within them will be taken from different parts of the Oxford canal.