Listening with…the Channelsea river : Blanc Sceol [Current]


12 April 2024 Friday 5:30-8pm. Free Entry

An Ear to River ~ recovering landscape 2023

A film in collaboration with Ross Adams. Running time: 33 minutes.

This film arises from the fertile bed of Channelsea river, and the mud banks of Channelsea island. After the bend there’s a dead end, an ecotonal community alive with self-seeded inhabitants, effluent overflows, waste waters, mud, industrial detritus, people in search of rest, tidal flow. On the island birch, alder, bramble and buddleia make slow steady progress demolishing the former chemical works buildings, young holly and holm oak forecasting the evergreen future of the land. Light, wind and rain remember their way in.

The sounds have been gathered by Blanc Sceol through their on-going site specific work there. A somatic score creates a space for participation, the field recordings and poems were recorded and written during and after encounters at different times of day and night, hydrophones witness tidal flows, a voice recycles the word ‘waste’ on a tape loop, a waterphone filled with river water and a song slide around one another, and self-created instrument ‘Orbit’ is played inside Abbey Mills pumping station. Ross Adams’ wide-eyed visual reflections circumnavigate the island as a solitary, exploratory flowing eye. This witness reaches around, above, inside and through its contrasting elements – the detritus of the abandoned landscape in conversation with dense new growth.

The film came out of an audio-visual performance collaboration created for the EnCounters x Music and Other Living Creatures series, curated by Helen Frosi and Cafe OTO Projects.

Also on display will be a Tide cloth – calico dyed with river sediment which was created in collaboration with the Channelsea river as part of the Spree~Channelsea Radio Group project 2023, as well as 2 x text scores written for Channelsea Island.

Listening Circle

Session One : 13 April Saturday 4:30pm £10

Session Two : 14 April Sunday 4:30pm £10

£10 | 8 places only each session | Please email for ticketing

Duration: 75 minutes approximately

Access to the Channelsea river is closed throughout April, in preparation for the final connections to the Tideway tunnel due to be made later this year. As a result of this period of works, the Channelsea will once again be subjected to regular pollution events from the Abbey Mills overflow pipes. Join us to listen in live to the soundscapes of the river via an open microphone situated on the banks, tuning in as a way to be with the contemporary and historical pollution this waterbody has been expected to dilute. The circle will give us space to reflect on current and local ecological concerns through an embodied connection to our own inner waters. 

The live stream is part of the live soundmap project operated by Locus Sonus.

‘We are Blanc Sceol, an artist duo whose work has emerged & expanded, throughout our years of working together, to encompass performance, improvisation, composition, participatory actions, deep listening facilitation, somatic & ritual gatherings.

Since 2018 we have been working site specifically with Channelsea River in London, through the co-founding of Surge Cooperative, a moorings cooperative establishing an affordable way for people to live on the water, and collaborative actions to acknowledge and support the living systems that are already present. Our regular practices with river are invitations to ourselves and others to gather, listen, observe and learn through a variety of containers, from workshops to walks, to reading groups, deep listening, live transmissions and collaborations. Through each of these actions our attempts to understand and support river grow and change as we uncover more about the forces at work, both within and without.’

Photo by Blanc Sceol