Illustrious has created an immense 3D soundscape in collaboration with Central Saint Martins and Aberrant Architects in Shanghai as part of their Shanghai Urban Space Art Season 2017.
LIQUID HISTORIES – ‘The Thames between imaginary and reality’
The title of the installation refers to the way that history can be told through multiple viewpoints and methods, lending history a fluidity that washes away the fixity of a list of facts. The histories of the Thames are diverse and overlapping: they are liquid. From the personal narratives of individuals to the grand histories of nationhood, with everything from the mythical histories of poets to the false histories of estate agents in between.
The installation presents these liquid histories of the Thames by exploring the tension between the Thames as imaginary and reality. It reflects on the river as a public space of the imagination and the denial of that space through the codes and economies of recent developments. A bench traces the route and shape of the Thames from Blackfriars to Dagenham. On its back, a series of facts presents the reality of the Thames, particularly as it increasingly becomes a site for development, with the resultant economic and actual exclusion of most citizens from its banks. A 3D soundscape by the world-acclaimed sound artist and musician Martyn Ware immerses the visitor’s imagination in the sounds, stories, and sensations of the Thames. In between these two poles of the imaginary and reality, a series of specially commissioned films suggest an intermediary space of everyday life that still draws on the power of the Thames for stimulation.
The intention in presenting these multiple views of the Thames is to remind visitors that rivers everywhere have to be preserved in all their mysterious, mundane, and mythic guises, and not be allowed to become commodified systems exploited for their picturesque character.