Commissions: Benedicte Clementsen, Tim Etchells, Blue Firth, Ian Giles, Kurt Johannessen
Riverbank Chatters: Lesley Clarke, Thomas Darby, Laura Mahony, Alexander Stevenson
Film: Ben Rivers
Writer in Residence: Thomas Darby
View the project publication here
During May 2013 Lincoln Art Programme embarked upon a new crusade of investigation in the Red Herrings and Chinese Whispers programme investigating the Brayford Isle's mysterious histories. Bringing together a series of new artist’s commissions across the Brayford Pool, and a programme of talks, presentations and films from invited artists, historians and archaeologists; Red Herrings and Chinese Whispers looked to solve some of the isle’s lingering mysteries and attribute the site a new voice. Lincoln Art Programme collaborated with NABROAD to commission Benedicte Clementsen and Kurt Johannessen who made site specific performance works.
The Brayford Isle is a 12 meter wide man-made island located in the South East region of Lincoln’s Brayford Pool, the city’s historic port and present day mooring ground for pleasure boats. The small mysterious island is inhabited by a single willow tree and provides annual nesting ground for the Brayford’s mute swan population. Formally the city’s trading port, the Brayford Pool now sits in the centre of the city’s on-going urban development, fuelled by the commerce to the North and the University to the South of its waters. Yet the island remains, its historical presence forgotten and its spatial presence neglected, but rumours of its underwater treasures persist to capture local attention.
This project was supported by: Arts Council England, The Heritage Lottery Fund, The Brayford Trust, NABROAD, The Canal and River Trust
Lincoln Art Programme would like to thank the following for their time, advice and enthusiasm.
Siri Aronsen, Lesley Clarke, Benedicte Clementsen, Audhild Dahlstrom, Thomas Darby, Steve Dutton, Tim Estop, Tim Etchells, Blue Firth, Ian Giles, The Survey of Lincoln, Georgina Gregory, Chris Harrison, Nikki Harrison, Jon Henderson, Kurt Johannessen, Anthony Lee, Laura Mahony, Ben Rivers, Debbie Seaborn, Alexander Stevenson, Graeme Stonehouse, Keith Van Berg, Richard Wheaterand a special thanks to Geoff Tann (Freelance archaeological researcher) and John Herridge (City of Lincoln Heritage Officer) for their research on the Brayford Isle.
Benedicte Clementsen: Willow Tree
In tribute to the single willow tree that inhabits the Brayford Isle, Benedicte Clementsen presented a durational and evolving performance around the periphery of the Brayford Pool. Benedicte tied together global mythology and folk law attributing new visual understanding to the symbolic willow tree.
Blue Firth: Best of Both
In response to how urban re-generation and historical narratives can provide re-engagement within inner city areas, Best of Both provided a literal vessel for exploration and discovery, of the Brayford Pool. An adapted swan pedalo moored in the wharf, was openly available for journeys over the weekend.
Kurt Johannessen: Fifteenth Conversation
Fifteenth Conversation was a new work by Kurt Johannessen, which formed part of a larger series of conversation pieces. Kurt’s conversation works look to create a dialogue between the performer and the situation, changing the conversation from person to environment.
Laura Mahony; The Great Stink
Considering the Brayford Pool’s history of profuse dredging and reconstruction, Laura Mahony performed a walking tour of the Pool's North and South Warf. Laura drew on local stories and references, such as ‘the great stink,’ a name attributed to the Brayford at a time of rat infestation
Jon Henderson, Professor of Archaeology at Nottingham University, gave a talk about his interests in building and living on manmade islands. Using data from recent underwater excavations and surveys in Scotland carried out by the Underwater Archaeology Research Centre at the University of Nottingham, the talk aimed to shed light on the role of artificial islands in the human past.
Tim Etchells: For Words
The new work installed in the centre of a large pond behind the University, comprised of a single statement rendered in white neon. Unsuitably placed as it was, unreachable at the centre of a semi-picturesque location. Tim’s sign both spoke to the landscape around whilst announcing its own failure.
Ian Giles: A Pot for Looking Back
Ian Giles designed a large ceramic pot which was processed around Lincoln, from the Brayford Pool and through the city. This pot was held aloft for all to see. A band of musicians announced its coming and drew attention to its being.
Ben Rivers: The Creation As We Saw It
The Creation As We Saw It looked at three mythical stories from the island nation of Vanuatu, South Pacific, concerning the origin of humans, why pigs walk on all fours, and why a volcano sits where it does.
Alexander Stevenson; Tale Twisting
For the Riverbank Chatters Alexander Stevenson presented a lively talk about the Brayford Isle, in the guise of a re-enactor. Most of the myths surrounding the island are well known, but others less so, and new stories are being created or attributed to it all the time.
Writer in residence Thomas Darby discussed his contributions to Red Herrings and Chinese Whispers. From his multi-sourced blog, ‘Deeds’ to an online collaborative workshop, he incorporated how rumour and myth/subjectivities can be framed and edited, finding a natural voice on the internet.
Lesley Clarke; History
History was a walk around Lincoln’s Brayford Pool with Lesley Clarke; she guided people through 8,000 years of history, changing shape and changing size, from a Mesolithic age hunting camp to its present lively re-generation.