Reading the Water delves into Lincoln’s innermost places; the waterways, wells and pools that intimately interact with the city and its people. Deep under Lincoln and just below the surface, waters ebb and flow carrying all manner of histories, bodies, floods… 

This multi-channel soundwork brings their stories, past and present, to the surface. Playing across multiple speakers at the ancient intersection of the Fosse Way and River Witham, Reading the Water is comprised of field recordings, texts and conversations, facts and fictions saturated with Lincoln’s past and present. 

Reading the Water reaches the city by way of the wind-shorn river crossing at Segelocum, the nemeton at Nettleham and the underground springs supplying the city reservoir through roman aqueducts. Running down through the old town, it finds blind wells and sewers, ill-remembered controversies and intolerances.

Crowds drift toward the High Bridge installation on Lincolnshire Day, 2016

Crowds drift toward the High Bridge installation on Lincolnshire Day, 2016

At the High Bridge, site of the old dock and water conduit, Reading the Water divides to follow wild and human life along and into the sluices, drains, canals & the engineered landscape beyond.

River Witham at dusk, Washingborough Mooring Point, August 2016

River Witham at dusk, Washingborough Mooring Point, August 2016

Segelocum (excerpt)

The causeway fell two feet or so below the waterline forcing a good deal of sploshing by those fording the Trisantona (Trent) at Segelocum. The causeway was destroyed when the river was widened in the 1820s and the once popular Littleborough ferry that took its place it was, in time, reduced to a single rowing boat. Today the wind tears across the river sculling the surface in emulation of the unwanted catch of the oars or long rusted greaves bashing through its top layers.


Nemeton (excerpt)

Far from today's received idyll of Celtic druidry, the nemeton was a site of abject horror; 'stained with the blood of men was every tree' (Lucanus - Pharsalia III.412). In contrast, Lincolnshire's best kept village of the year 2008-2010, lying a short distance from such a place, offers a tranquil beck and mini-weir safeguarding small boys, ducklings and shingle from the horror of the old ways.


Running Times

6 - 8pm,  Friday 30th September

8am - 8pm, 1st - 7th October 2016

High St, Lincoln, UK, LN5 7AU

Commissioned as part of Sonophilia 2016

Thanks to Amie Slavin, Anthony Belcher & Das Disley (Sonophilia Festival), Sally Eades (Stokes High Bridge Cafe), Nakeeta Lawlor (Accessorize) and the Waterside Shopping Centre.