The Estuary Lab Abstract

Estuary Lab Flyer

A concept created by Jony Easterby

Llanw a thrai

Low Tide High Tide.

Low tide at the mouth of the Dyfi estuary brings a no mans land of perfectly sculpted sand and water, full of latent energy transformation and life.

Great estuarine sands suck at your boots as you move out into the middle of the river, walking on water that will consume the land once again, as it did 13 hours ago and will again tomorrow and for ever as long as the moon circles the earth.

Canoeing across this great shifting river mouth looking for the illusive Flounder I become stranded and make way by foot. Clutching a homemade spear in hand with a friend by my side we walk around this newly uncovered land in a primal dream. A curious feeling of euphoria engulfs me, this is a new feeling, born I think from some long ago feeling of belonging, alongside the sense that this is a landscape we have lived and fed on in some previous life.

River Mouth drinks the sea

The rivers edge the seas shore

Landsea sealand

A Riverine, estuarine, saline meeting point.

Where fish change their spots.

Unmarkable unchartable riddle riparian zone

River Tide River Tide River Tide

Spring Neap

High Low

Spate Dry Flood and Surge

water never still always pulled

Down stream and up moon.

Fluvial Settlement Sediment Nutrient

Sea level changes.

Submerged Bells

Submerged Forests

Floating Islands,

Floating Stages

Jetties to nowhere.

Strand Lines and Flotsam.

Tide to flood and float

Months late this memory and emotion continues to touch and inspire me.

How can I share this experience, build on its vision and explore it further?

Dreams of sand and a long fascination with fluid dynamics, memories of Fraser Island, Irskin Childers, eating fish on sand islands in Thailand, river songs, paddle steamers and sand bars on the Irrawaddy start to emerge.

I then remember seeing Nash’s wooden boulder move down the vale of Ffestiniog where I worked before moving South, Alice Oswolds seminal river Dart poem and the Bow Gamelan playing ‘In C and Air’ on sunken Thames barges as the tide rises around their waists.

Last week I picked three types of shell fish from the sands of Borth, shrimps from the rock pools and feasted on Sea Trout from the river, such bounty and beauty.

So I have started the process of building an event, a show a happening an installation, a future event created out of a series of visualisations of what might occur to celebrate and intensify this experience for myself and others.

Perhaps if you could take a group of people out onto the sands during the low tide zone, what would they find? How would they navigate who would guide them? What would they hear? What could they eat?

Could structure be made, would it survive, architectural shelter, archaeological ruin, ritual space, functionless objects, enigmatic forms, jetties to nowhere, places to watch, places for birds, places for plants, aquaculture, agriculture, floating islands, floating fields, can we be on the water, under the water? Sunken trees, submerged forests, lost Kingdoms, sunken bells.

Then we watch as the sea reclaims, shifts, destroys, floats, moves things up and down stream.

We will start with an Estuary Lab a meeting of people, work upstream and downstream, film ,paint record, theorize, share, meeting folk from the river consulting the experts, the boat builders, scientists, sailors, rowers, bailiffs, potmen, harbour masters, farmers. Bring people in. People who know the land and sea, people who watch and observe and see what is going on.

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The Presentation

Harvey photo re-enactment.


On the foreshore.Image

Ringing the bell tower.ImageImage

Performance by Marega Palser and Gareth Clark, “arrivals from the new world”.Image

Cooking and eating mussels in the cove.Image

Transporting the audience via kingspan raft.Image

The journey of the audience following a sea urchin which emerged from the water and floated past on the mirror-ike surface of the estuaryImageImageImage

Floating past the Estuary shoes being used on the shore by the sunken forest.Image

Performance amongst the sunken forest and on the downed jetty for the audience journey.ImageImageImageImage

Lighting of the flare on the bell tower.ImageImage

The beached sea urchin becomes seating to watch a floating band with goose wings in the background on the freshly revealed sand bank lit by burning straw bales.Image

The foreshore lit with fire rope and flares becomes a fire installation.ImageImageImageImageImageMark’s kinetic fire-mirror sculpture.Image

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The Build

Creating the Sea Urchin



ImageMaking and installing the Bell TowerImageImageImage

ImageImageBuilding and testing the various RaftsImageImageImage

Planting the sunken Forest


Weaving the Estuary Shoes


Making and practicing with the sail Goose Wings


Experimenting with Bell Buoys and floating flares


Building The Jetty



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The process

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