This art/science collaboration between artist Loraine Leeson and biophysical chemist Nithin Rai aimed to support biodiversity on the River Thames. Reed beds were constructed along the hull of the Tamesis Dock barge, situated opposite Tate Britain between Lambeth and Vauxhall bridges, the site of the original Lambeth Marshes. The initiative promoted the ‘greening’ of the shored up banks of the river, while providing a sheltered habitat and monitoring station for river organisms. It will also served as a pilot for how biodiversity conservation may be expanded along the inner city reaches of urban rivers. Visitors were able to connect to the project web site via their phones to observe recent activity and learn about the issues affecting biodiversity conservation in the Thames. In September 2015 images of these organisms were projected along the embankment. The work was funded by the Western Riverside Environmental Fund, which re-directs revenue from landfill tax for environmental purposes.
Projections of the kinds of microorganisms we discovered in this inner city reach of the River Thames were projected along its southerly embankment, the site of the historic Lambeth Marshes..
Lambeth Floating Marsh Animation Loop from Loraine Leeson on Vimeo with Visual effects by Sean Lewis.
The Tidal Thames is a recovering ecosystem of great ecological importance and the Estuary supports a diverse flora; rich populations of invertebrates; 121 species of fish and many internationally important aquatic birds.
In 1957 however the River Thames was declared biologically dead with water quality so poor that it could not sustain life. Since then the river has undergone a massive transformation, water quality has improved, and wildlife has returned. Nevertheless long stretches of concrete flood defense walls on the Thames are still preventing plant growth and the invertebrates that thrive in healthy riverbank habitats.
Below are images collected from the project.
Lambeth Floating Marsh is an art/science collaboration between artist Loraine Leeson and biophysical chemist Nithin Rai, with support from University of Westminster’s Faculty of Science and Technology.
Looking down the river towards Westminster.
On this page are short introductions to the Lambeth Floating Marsh project team.
Lambeth Floating Marsh projections from Loraine Leeson on Vimeo.
On the evening of 15th September 2015, Lambeth Floating Marsh was opened by Professor Geoff Petts, Vice Chancellor of University of Westminster. Loraine Leeson and Nithin Rai described the project, while Chris Coode, Deputy Chief Executive of the environmental organization Thames2, provided an overview of the challenges and opportunities for wildlife along the urban reaches of the Thames.
Science and Technology dean Professor Jane Lewis drew on her specialist knowledge of micro organism behavior to consider the benefits of new habitat, and concluded the event by reflecting on the value of the arts and sciences working together to bring these issues to public attention.
Professor Geoff Petts, Vice Chancellor of University of Westminster opened the event and spoke of his specialist interest in river ecology.
On the evening of 15th September 2015 projections of river organisms were projected along the Thames embankment in Lambeth to draw attention to the importance of supporting biodiversity along urban rivers.
This arts/science collaboration between artist Loraine Leeson and scientist Nithin Rai includes new reed bed habitat for micro organisms and invertebrates in long basket structures attached to the hull of the Dutch barge Tamesis Dock. Find out more at www.lambethfloatingmarsh.org.uk.
Join us for drinks and projections at the Tamesis Dock to hear how a miniature reed bed can make a difference to biodiversity in the tidal Thames.
7.30pm Tuesday 15th September 2015
London SE1 7TP