Helen Dewhurst | Undertow
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Site-specific, live-video, commissioned public artwork


Dark water flows slowly.
Things drift downstream, caught in flow, moving from screen to screen.


CCTV cameras installed along the river bank stream continuous, live images into the Library, 24 hours a day, quietly keeping watch of the river’s surface. The cameras capture a site of ‘absence’, observing and transmitting transitory changes occurring as a result of weather, rainfall, shifting light and time of day.


The captured section of river is located at the site of a ‘Ducking/Cucking Stool’, reportedly used to duck suspected witches and punish ‘scolds’ –  a historical term often used to describe women accused of talking back to their husbands, or inciting or agitating against the public peace.


Water interweaves through the interior Library space, creating a sense of flow and movement among the setting of books and thought, connecting the building intimately into its local history and live natural environment.


Installation: Multi-Screen, Live Video Installation, Set throughout interior of Library

Images: Stills from video feed (Night View)


Part of the programme of artists’ regeneration programme for the Beaney Museum & Library, Canterbury.

A Canterbury City Council Commission.



"I love to watch it at night when everyone’s gone and the building is silent."