Hull, UK – Discarded Signifiers

In 2002 I had the rare opportunity to spend two months in Hull, UK as an artist-in-residence at Hull Time Based Arts that  was part of the river commission that invited artists to conceptual the river through unique artworks and experiences about the place.  I chose trash since it was abundant and seemed most natural resource to document, study and make artworks out of. 

Reading the River project is an interdisciplinary work that involved documenting and annotating discarded debris found in the surrounding area of the River Hull Corridor. The action of exploring, collecting, tagging and configuring debris into an installation and a web site will be a method of reading the River Hull.

The debris collected served as a signifier of human activity and by notating the site and environment will point to consumer patterns and behavior. Besides photographing the trash where it was found, I was also maintaining a journal of the trash found notating unique information about the debris.

Tapio Mäkelä, Finish media artist / critic, observed this activity of mine a number of years ago and named the process “archeology of the contemporary.” Throughout this process of collecting and tagging I cultivate narratives about specific pieces of debris to assign them their status as artifacts of urban material culture.

A page from Reading the River journal.

curator: Janis Britland
assistant curator: Christian Johnson
project coordinator: Emily Wilczek
education coordinator: John Hirst
installation assistance: Raymond Mcfee
Special thanks to Hull Time Based Arts.

Local people / resources:

Local History Unit on-line: Hull College

Transmigration via the port of Hull: 100 Years of Emigrant Ships from Norway, by Nick Evans © 1999. The town of Kingston upon Hull lies at the point where the River Hull and River Humber meet. Throughout its history the port has enjoyed successful trade links with most of the ports of Northern Europe, from Antwerp in the west, to St. Petersburg in the east, Le Havre in the south and to Trondheim in the north. Maritime Historical Studies Centre, University of Hull, UK.

Kingston upon Hull is the major centre of the Humber region and has a travel to work population of close to 450,000. The spacious city and suburbs offe

r a pleasant environment and good business and leisure facilities. Hull is sure to benefit from closer ties with Europe in the future. Its strategic position on the E20 trade route, linking the UK and Ireland with Northern Europe, makes the city and port a natural commercial and industrial location. “Ensuring a better quality of life for everyone, now and for generations to come”

Hull DOC are a city wide Community Development organisation. The head office is located in Orchard Park at the address below. The list on your page left is of the locations that are spread across the city. All contact details for the outreach team are found on their respective pages.

the Driffield Navigation Trust (DNT) and The Driffield Navigation Amenities Association (DNAA). This sites is Dedicated to ensuring a wider knowledge of the important part played by the Canal in the history of Driffield and of the surrounding area – to promote the Canal’s estoration, use, future potential and local amenities

BBCi British interactive TV and WWW : HUMBER area

Recent finds along the River Hull. Archaeological excavations undertaken at Chapel Lane Staith in Hull during March 2000 have revealed evidence of two former waterfront revetments. One is dating from the 15th century and the other from the 17th/18th century. Humber Archaeology Partnership

International River Network: IRN supports local communities working to protect their rivers and watersheds. We work to halt destructive river development projects, and to encourage equitable and sustainable methods of meeting needs for water, energy and flood management.sity of Hull’s interdisciplinary research unit dedicated to research into the science underpinning the diverse issues surrounding the management of waste the Enventure web site: Enventure was formed in July 1996 to assist organisations affected by Landfill Tax to make the most of the Landfill Tax Credit Scheme. Hull, England.