Following Ghost’s journey along the River Tamar, the project became the focus of an exhibition and accompanying talk around the "The Urgency of Rivers and the Role of Contemporary Art"

As an artwork, Adam Chodzko’s Ghost was multi-dimensional in its capabilities to deliver both socially engaging contemporary art and creating an historical document that comments on the issues surrounding rivers, reaching far beyond the River Tamar.

It was evident at the launch that, as a sculptural piece, Ghost had a physical attraction and invited viewers to really examine its finer details. For a limited period, Ghost was displayed as an installation in the Peninsula Arts Gallery at Plymouth University. To accompany this exhibition, the River Tamar Project brought together a presentation about the issues that are facing rivers, and the role that contemporary art can have in changing people’s attitudes towards them. Can art provoke and trigger a sense of urgency about the world?

The Urgency of Rivers and the Role of Contemporary Art

Alongside the exhibition of Ghost by Adam Chodzko at the Peninsula Arts, Gallery 8 – 12 January, the River Tamar Project with Plymouth University conducted a talk: The Urgency of Rivers and the Role of Contemporary Art, on 10th January 2013. The evening provided an opportunity to find out more about the River Tamar Project, and the unique residency by artist Adam Chodzko. It included international speakers who are engaged with contemporary art and river projects: Bergit Arends, Natural History Museum; Tim Eastop, Canal and River Trust; Tracey Warr, Oxford Brookes University; chaired by Paula Orrell, Artistic Director of the River Tamar Project.

Speaker Biographies

Tim Eastop is a producer specialising in artists’ research, commissions of new art and creative dialogue. He currently leads a national contemporary arts programme for the Canal & River Trust in partnership with Arts Council England, connecting artists with the waterways of England and Wales through collaboration with high quality partners such as the Ikon Gallery, the Royal Opera House, the Poetry Society, Olympic Park agencies and the Contemporary Art Society.

Tracey Warr is a writer/curator and Head of the Faculty of Art at Oxford Brookes University. She talked about her current project, River Runs, which is a collaboration with artists Nomeda & Gediminas Urbonas, investigating the River Thames in Oxford and the River Charles in Boston, America.

Adam Chodzko’s art explores the interactions and possibilities of human behaviour. Working across media, from video installation to subtle interventions, with a practice that is situated both within the gallery and the wider public realm, his work investigates and invents the possibilities of collective imagination through using the poetics of everyday life. His work forms part of major collections and is exhibited internationally.

Bergit Arends has been Curator of Contemporary Art at the Natural History Museum in London since 2005. The exhibitions she has curated include ‘Lucy + Jorge Orta: Amazonia’, part of International Year of Biodiversity in 2010; ‘After Darwin: Contemporary Expressions’ (2009), with accompanying publication Expressions: From Darwin to Contemporary Arts; ‘Mark Dion: Systema Metropolis’ (2007); and ‘The Ship: The Art of Climate Change’ (2006) in partnership with Cape Farewell. Previously she managed the science and art funding programme at the Welcome Trust. She most recently co-curated with Greg Hilty the exhibition ‘Galápagos’ touring Liverpool, Edinburgh and Lisbon.