Two Rivers Meet
When we started working on Here Comes Everybody we particularly found the bridge where the two rivers meet interesting. Both the Ravensbourne and Pool are small rivers, ultimately heading up towards Deptford and the Thames. UP Projects, our commissioners, wanted a physical site specific object as a part of the overall project. In our proposal we pitched a bridge installation. The River Walk from Lower Sydenham up to Catford and Ladywell has been very well landscaped and rethought to provide utility and leisure for the surrounding communities. It is also used by cyclists to commute and largely avoids main roads.
We decided to align the project from South to North, so if you are reading this or attending the launch then go to Lower Sydenham first (overground trains run frequently from Charing Cross or London Bridge). We wanted people to experience the narrative via the app, starting out at the Southend Lane entrance to the River Walk and then culminate at the bridge.
Along the river you will encounter wild life, including parakeets, chub, foxes, kingfishers and a heron. In summer you will also find spots to wade and play in the water, as many local people do. Not the average expectation of the area.
As we gathered more data, including Peter Cusack’s river sounds, we decided to build a bridge interface. This needed to be robust and also fit within the location. At the same time the app was being designed, so we needed to cross reference the designs and media assets.
The final four panels were designed with a view towards laser etched steel on oak backs. However, we had been playing around with vitreous enamel in another project and seeing the results from this decided to go with it (as the costs were similar). The enamelling company AJ Wells were extremely helpful on the technical side and the artwork was supplied to them as Illustrator vector files. The oak backs were built for us by Jonny Wells (no relation) and assembled.
The final screen-printed panels are fabulous and of course highly durable. We are particularly pleased with the level of details in the screen-printing.
The overall finished work unites the app user with the installation at the end of the walk, when walking from South to North along the River Pool. We’ve used QR codes to link to the videos and sounds of the River Pool, as well as an ordinary URL. We plan to observe how this is utilised practically on the spot over a period of time.