my inner ear could no longer take those limitless seas / These supple waters

Emily Hawes

31 August – 22 October 2019

my inner ear could no longer take those limitless seas/These supple waters is a work in progress, a test-bed for a new, interdisciplinary approach within Emily Hawes’ practice. Working at the intersection of choreography, video and site-specific research, this assemblage of works form an attentive and informal survey of the Thames and Blackwater estuaries. 

It is the first iteration—comprising of four new responses—to a period of time spent learning about the Essex estuaries. In May 2019 Emily Hawes stayed in Southend-on-Sea investigating conservation projects, sites of ecological significance, estuarine communities and industrial histories along the Thames and Blackwater estuaries. Drawing from ideas of embodiment and ecological ethics she wanted to think about how the estuaries have been shaped by human intervention and more-than-human ecologies, and speculate on their future rhythms and entanglements. 

This project is an opportunity for Hawes to test new ways of working and form a new body of work(s) that are interconnected & dependent upon each other.

Central is a new two-channel video projection, which is composed of footage shot whilst in residence at the Old Waterworks in May and documentation of a choreographic workshop Hawes developed with dance artist Marta Ammendola at Pavilion Dance South West in June 2019. Adopting Anna & Lauwrence Halprin’s RSVP Cycles (first presented in 1969 in the book The RSVP Cycles: Creative Processes in the Human Environment) as a structure–collated text, video & field recordings from Canvey Island, Mersea & Southend became the body of the score. 

This was supplemented by a textual somatic score, which was adapted to reference the ecologies of Canvey Island, Mersea & Southend, such as the tidal patterns & willow re-growth in the Marine Conservation Zone, its invisible workers (such as worms and microbial communities) and the protected invertebrate communities which inhabit the brownfield site of Canvey Wick. 

Through poetry, video and the circulation of cold air, Hawes is considering how one makes visible or audible the invisible forces and ambiences that are entangled within the estuaries’ interdependent ecosystems. 

my inner ear could no longer take those limitless seas/these supple waters is part of the Old Waterworks’ (TOW) practice development programme. TOW provides the space and flexibility for artists to be able to produce new work, or the time when a period of research would be crucial to their development. All the projects are contextually specific to TOW and the local area in relation to the artists’ practices.

Video still. Courtesy of the Artist
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