Jenny Souter

Submerge

“There's plenty of water in the universe without life, but nowhere is there life without water.”

Sylvia A. Earle

This film installation was the product of witnessing severe rainfall and the changing landscape as a result. The fields that surround me have become saturated and unsafe. Some of the roads leading out of the village have been closed off due to small amounts of flooding. Water is something that we control, for example turning a tap on and off, but with two severe weather formations recently experienced, ‘Ciara’ and ‘Dennis’ and more to come, we are beginning to understand the true strength of water and it's destructive powers.

We, as a nation are used to wind and rain, that is natural ‘island’ weather, but we are presently experiencing ecological patterns that have tipped the scales of normality, this is due to ‘Climate Change’. Sea levels may rise, which will herald land loss, this is commonly known. Land loss will also fall to the mercy of rain, which will reclaim old riverbeds and collect in valleys, it will cause surges in the underground rivers of which there are many in this country, particularly in the south. The dominance of water will become evident.

The film is of myself submerged in the bath with a transparent layer of further footage taken in Southwold on New Years Day 2020. I have endeavoured to try and understand what it is like to ‘feel’ submerged. At first it is comforting and then it becomes something you want to escape.

The film will be projected into the garden, which backs onto the surrounding fields. I will document the installation, there will be no viewers apart from myself, yet in a strange way it has become important to me to display it to the environment itself. It is strange to think we are 70% water, and yet too much water is overpowering and becomes a threat. The film has been edited to contain colour and certain parts have been sliced in to suggest a certain repetitive clumsiness, like an old DVD that has been rediscovered and has been water- damaged in some way.

The artist that has inspired me is Steve mc Queen. Mc Queen drops into closeup imagery to draw attention to subject matter, implying a layered story and meaning. Some of his experimental work involves himself in relation to the subject matter, invoking the spectator to feel the inclusion of a conversation, rather than simply the felt experience of ‘looking-on’.

Jenny Souter, Fine Art MA