On those stepping into rivers staying the same other and other waters flow
– attributed to Heraclitus
Read | Online catalogue of DEEP TIME DEPOSITS
View | Installation view of Tidal Impressions of River Thames
The winner of Below Zero Finnish Art Price 2020, Tuula Närhinen was in residency at Beaconsfield Gallery in South London from mid-January until the end of February. Leading up to the Deep Time Deposits exhibition, Närhinen searched the Thames foreshore collecting bits and pieces of anthropogenic debris that have found a hiding spot in the Thames’ anaerobic river-mud. Närhinen understands the river as a time-machine; a dynamic historic agent and naturally occurring cultural archive of the city.
Watch | Teaser: DEEP TIME DEPOSITS in the making
View | Details of findings from River Thames
Watch | Explore the blueprints in detail
The making of the exhibition includes a fascinating twist thanks to the blueprint, one of the pioneering photographic methods used in early 19th century. Närhinen has coated sheets of paper with light sensitive iron compounds, on which she exposes her mudlark finds to natural light. Deep Time Deposits combines photographic records with traces of material culture to create a portrait of the tidal river.
View | Behind the scenes of DEEP TIME DEPOSITS: Making of cyanotypes
View | Details of the main exhibition space
View | Second exhibition space: Installation view of A Nice Cup of Thames Low & Tribute to Mudlarks
Närhinen explores the non-human archival labour of the Thames mud through paper chromatography. The work makes use of the Pfeiffer Chroma-Test, a process deployed to assess the quality of the soil. Empty tea bags were filled with mud and soaked in a solution of diluted drain cleaner (sodium hydroxide) that broke up the organic substances. A filter paper treated with silver nitrate reacted with residues extracted from the sediments. Through capillary action and in presence of sunlight, the mud particles “developed” into different patterns and colours on the circular piece of filter paper. The resulting chromatograms were exhibited with Royal Doulton tea crockery and dehydrated chunks of clay collected from the foreshore right under Westminster.
Watch | Making of Deep Time Deposits: A Nice Cup of Thames Low
Along methods associated with analytic chemistry, the installation draws from the history of photography and from tea-related rituals introduced to Britain in the early 1840s, the Victorian period of busy trade and high industrialism that brought Thames pollution to a culmination point; the Great Stink. In August 1858 members of the Parliament were forced to flee from Westminster for the overpowering foul stench of the river.
Listen | Preview talk
Tuula Närhinen in conversation with curator-researcher and Below Zero guest juror Taru Elfving at the opening event of the exhibition on 1 March 2020 at Beaconsfield Gallery Vauxhall.
Watch | Opening event
Read | Exhibition catalogue
Sateentekijät (Rainmakers) is an installation and composition for hands by composer Tytti Arola. The piece was meant to be performed at Deep Time Deposits exhibition closing event on 5 April 2020. Due to the gallery’s closure caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the piece is presented here as an online version. The piece studies the possibilities of mimicking the sounds of rain, sleet and snow through simple and relatable gestures of clapping and rubbing hands. The actions create soundscapes which are emphasised and varied by using gloves made from different materials. The composition has a semi-structured form and the duration of the piece is 10 to 15 minutes.
Explore | Score for Rainmaking
Watch | Composer Tytti Arola plays Rain, Sleet, Snow
Below Zero 2020 in collaboration with