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Splish Splash

Talking Walking's latest interview is with Amy Sharrocks, sculptor and live performance artist. In this interview Amy, winner of the inaugural Sculpture Shock prize of the Royal British Society of Sculptors, talks about her infatuation with water and enthrals us with her forthcoming ideas, collaborations and ongoing art projects.

Journeys are central to Amy’s work the sense of moving together and unlocking a part of your thinking. Pacing out the city with a stride, with your foot as the measure of self and your connection to the city.

Amy is interested in people, what we can know, learn and share together. In her artwork there is no script, whatever people bring to the piece makes the piece, it is a collective consciousness.

Her constant theme is water, whether through swimming across London, tracing London's Lost rivers or making a water bar inspired by John Snow’s work around Cholera which celebrates its bi-centennial this year.

Amy grew up in Camden. Her fascination with water stemmed from her thinking about all the rivers submerged beneath the street. As a river city the changes that have taken place since the Roman times seemed extraordinary to her; “the psyche of the city once full of rivers that are now buried and deep within beneath our feet must impact the psyche of its people” and Amy has set about examining this theme.

Her river walk at night saw her collaborate with Vicky Sweetlove, a dowser. A group event where walkers clumped together from Peckham to Tower Bridge ending at the boat  that meets the dignitaries visiting 10 Downing St from the river.  After the success of the initial walk future performances saw everyone dowsing together, the awareness of the rushing water beneath as a collective experience was both powerful and earthing.

A short story by John Cleever called The Swimmer was the inspiration for her I want to swim  project. Connecting the blue across the brown city, fifty participants swimming then running through London's streets dripping wet then jumping into ponds, lakes and pools attracted a lot of attention.

Further projects involving a boat bobbing up and down but not really going anywhere the concept being to let go and manage the fact that you may not get further than a foot away. Letting go and allowing yourself to daydream frowned upon to the point we feel guilty but “to find ourselves in the state of dreaming whilst awake can be a crucial time to make future plans” says Amy

So what does the future hold? Amy hopes to swim the Thames beneath Tower Bridge, a spot called the Pool of London. It is the heart of London shipping and the idea is to stop the shipping traffic for an hour to allow 100 people to swim across the river and “glory in our river at the changing tide”

Another project is to create a water/ cocktail bar at the Broad St pump to celebrate John Snow’s discovery (of which it is the bi-centennial this year) and where the source of the Cholera epidemic originated. Amy invited people to sit, rest, chat and hang out with her.

Amy is also starting a public library and Museum of Water where we can all bring our unique samples. So much of our way of life can be revealed through our water, how may bath water be perceived in fifty years? Amy ponders it could be seen as being so wasteful and weird. How future generations view our habits how we live in a city once full of rivers and water, this now dryer life with all our pipes under our streets our clean streets and sanitised lives are all themes to be explored.

Amy has embarked on a three month residency at the Elisabeth Frink Studio, as part of her prize for winning the Royal British Society of Sculpture inaugural Sculpture Shock Award.

Listen to the interview on Talking Walking -

Date added: 4 June 2013

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