rAdda was a collaborative art project that involved observing and thinking about the river and its relationship with the city. Through walks, performances, visual art and text, we explored the Adda as a connection between a disappearing past and a yet to be imagined future. Throughout 2016 we invited the public to take part in this process.
Ben Stammers and Zoë Skoulding
As artists who've spent most of our lives in and around Bangor, we used the unseen river as a new perspective from which to look again at familiar places. Following the course of the Adda, and spending time in focused observation, we encountered themes such as exclusion and access, privatization of public space, the politics of modern labour, the relationship between town and university, the juxtaposition of large-scale development and homelessness, and the coexistence of people and urban wildlife.
Working in different media, we pursued the river – tracing its course visually, sonically, and through research, consultation and imagination – from its source underneath Tesco's roundabout, down to where it meets the sea in Bangor Harbour. We also gathered thoughts, memories and imaginings from people who have lived or worked on the banks of the Adda, to try and reflect the diversity of voices and languages heard in modern Bangor.
We wanted to respond creatively to the different aspects of urban ecology we come across as we follow the line of the invisible river through the centre of the city. These include construction, regeneration, neglect, decay, industry, community life, work and leisure, derelict churches and retail sprawl, civic and commercial structures, new cultural spaces, the particular and the generic, patterns and repetitions.
We hope the project will continue to stimulate awareness of the combination of natural forces and man-made structures that make up the cityscape, and encourage an active, observant relationship with the city environment. By focusing on something invisible, we also hope to engage people's imagination, and link to Bangor's history and future.
The project has included:
- gathering written, visual and audio material
- interviews with local people
- opportunities for people to respond to places along the Adda
- walks with members of the public
- interactive workshops and discussions
- multimedia performances