Crossings

About this event

by Jonathan McCree and Paul Statham
Studio 1,

Sat 20 – Sun 21 September
FREE Event – part of the River Weekender

There is a space, halfway across a river, when the sights and sounds of one side are balanced perfectly by those of the other. One is suspended between the leaving and arriving, the to and the fro. Bridges, ferries and tunnels are all means by which we can cross a river. “Crossings” is an installation by Jonathan McCree and Paul Statham, which uses painting, sound and video, to explore these crossings on the River Thames. This multi-sensory, interactive installation has been designed especially for Studio 2 at Watermans and promises to delight adults and children alike.

A Word from Jonathan McCree…
‘About 3 years ago, Paul Statham and I started visiting the bridges, tunnels and Ferries, which cross the River Thames. Our intention was to document what we found. I drew and took photographs and Paul made sound recordings. We went to crossings all along the River; from tiny wooden bridges upstream to the huge span of the Dartford Crossing, city bridges and rural bridges and several of East London’s tunnels. We accumulated an extensive body of source material including the sounds of conversations, the rumble of trains, footsteps, traffic and the sound of the river itself. My drawings were similarly extensive and diverse. On these trips we would discuss what the crossings and the river meant and how it might all be represented in an installation. Originally we had conceived the piece for a much bigger space, which would have given us scope to separate the visual and sound worlds from each individual bridge. However, for Watermans we decided to merge our material, to make something in a more general sense about the experience of crossing the River Thames.
The decision to put the painting on the floor, was partly prompted by something I’ve done and liked before, but the idea to cover it in perspex and have it as something to walk “across”, is something I haven’t tried before. I like how it proposes a physical act of stepping out and across, rather like the commitment one makes to going over a bridge or through a tunnel.
Paul’s sound, a composition made from recordings from the various crossings, will come from 4 speakers in the room’s corners. The idea is to have sounds crossing to and fro across the room. I think that he is also planning on making a more ambient sound piece which will play quietly and continuously.
The film has been made as a means of combining, very literally, sound and image. We passed the sound recordings through an upturned speaker across which was stretched a thin film. On this film was placed a small container of water which vibrated and made patterns in accordance with the sounds. The film is of the vibrations, created in water, by sounds taken along the river. I like to imagine that when we look at the surface of the river, the ripples and vibrations are made by these sounds, as well as winds, tides and the movement of objects.’

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