RIVER TRACES 1 was created in collaboration with the River Frome in Bristol, by exposing samples of river sediment and algae directly onto 16mm film, and developing using eco-processing techniques such as coffee and plant developers. Physical traces are generated through a direct encounter between the material qualities of the river and the film itself, effecting both the visual and audio track. The results are combined with underwater recordings into a poetic audiovisual trace of the River Frome. This forms part of Kathy’s research at South West Creative Technology Network.

The video below is a 3:38min extract from a 9 minute 16mm projection. It is the first of a set of films exploring photograms created from sediment, particles and plant matter found in rivers.

Digital version premiered online at Mutek Festival, September 2020 and 16mm Projection with live mixed sound premiered at Centre of Gravity Exhibition as part of the BEEF programme, October 2020.

River Traces was featured in the site specific event River Traces on 17th October 2021. The film was projected across the new Avon Cut at the location where the river Frome re-joins the tidal waters of the Avon from its underground passageway through the city. 

At sunset, when the tide was at its highest point of the day, the film began to flicker onto the water of the Avon cut, illuminating the surface of the water aswell as the opposite banks. As the tide retreated the film gradually shifted and to revealed the expansive mud banks exposed by the huge tidal changes experienced every day in Bristol.

River Traces projected onto the banks of the Avon new cut, as the tide changes. Photo by Ibi Feher

Below are some stills scanned from the 16mm film.