Wednesday, 18 May 2011
Today was the installation day for 'Flood' created by me and Jane Lawson on the bank of Chorlton Brook, for Chorlton Arts Festival's Big Art Walk. After weeks of planning and making, it is finally up and it looks great. We are hoping it will survive for the 10 days of the festival, as it is very vulnerable to vandalism!
The piece refers to the history of Chorlton which is situated on a flood plain of the Mersey River. Chorlton Ees, now a nature reserve, was used as a flood meadow until the river defences were built, which ensures that the Mersey no longer overflows.
For the installation, we turned a tree into a giant flood gauge by cladding it in a knitted sleeve made from copper wire with bands marking the levels of contemporary and historic floods. The floods we have represented are one local historic flood, the 3ft flood that overflowed Chorlton Brook in 1961, and three recent floods, the 6 ft flood in Sheffield in 2007, the 8 ft flood in Cockermouth in 2009 and the 10ft flood in Pakistan in 2010.
By showing how high the water rose in these recent devastating floods, the audience has a glimpse of the visceral experience of seeing familiar landmarks underwater, and it brings into peoples consciousness the real impact of flooding. We used copper electrical wire to make the connection between one of the causes and one of the effects of climate change.
On Saturday we will lead a group of people on a flood walk from the installation through Chorlton, following the contours of different flood risk areas, showing which areas are currently vulnerable to flooding according to the Environment Agency, and how flood risks may increase in the future. We will be assisted by local climate change experts.
It has been a great experience working with Jane, one of my closest friends, and I think the piece looks fantastic. It is up until May 30th, so go and see it if you can.