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PLaCE Visiting Speaker Series 2012 -13 : Stephen Robins & Folake Shoga

Stephen Robins & Folake Shoga : The River and Collaborative Witnesses
PLaCE/LAND2 Speaker Series 2012-2013
Thursday 29 November 2012
Running Time: 45:21mins

Stephen Robins & Folake Shoga : The River and Collaborative Witnesses

In October 2011 Folake Shoga and Stephen Robins walked along the Avon from Bristol Temple Meads to Avonmouth to get to know the river better; the walk was part field trip, part pilgrimage. They confronted their ignorance of the river, its industrial past and its fluvial geomorphology; they speculated and sometimes fell silent. They imagined themselves as others: happy picnickers, learned archaeologists, brave explorers, stalwart navvies, historical re-enactors, amateur botanists, psychic travellers or shamanic guides.

This presentation reflects on the river as a carrier of memory in the landscape. The River is evidence of and also witness to past convulsions: it contains traces of climate change, population movement, and patterns of occupation, building, farming, industry and transport. It remains as a permanent feature in folk and historical memory, while at the same time it is capable, through flooding, of washing away, obliterating the past. The river may cleanse, as in several forms of baptism around the world or like the river Lethe entry into the waters may bring about forgetting and facilitate passage into a different state of being.

Folake Shoga is an independent artist working with live performance, drawing and film. Shoga is a member of Residence, an artist collective in Bristol and has shown her work at the Arnolfini Gallery. Shoga is currently making new work supported by UnLtd’s
Engage project exploring memory and identity in bi-racial British people. Stephen Robins is an independent academic and live artist. His work has been been programmed by the Arnolfini Gallery, InBetweenTime and Robins has worked with Anthony Howell (New Theatre of Mistakes, 2001), Mike Pearson (Pearson and Brookes, 2004) and Deborah Pollard (2006).

Shoga and Robins first collaborated in
“Inhabited” in 2010 for Residence’s ‘How We Collaborate: Four’, which was concerned with memories and anxieties of the domestic.


© 2012 University of the West of England, Bristol