September Trip to London!

Ahead of our current exhibition, At Home in the Water by Vanessa Daws, the volunteer team had the pleasure of visiting a few exhibitions in London which explored discreetly similar themes.

After a cosy morning train ride, the group made their way to The Wellcome Collection for In The Air. Showcasing a variety of artists, scientists and makers, the exhibit questioned whether or not we all truly ‘breathe the same air’.

The exhibition drew attention to the ways in which our collective relationship with the air has inherently changed since the pandemic. In thinking about not only the socioeconomic, but environmental factors which affect our air, we were drawn to think about the inextricable relationship between the air and the sea; an important element of At Home in the Water.

Did you know that between 50-80% of the world’s oxygen comes from the sea?

We also looked around Wellcome Trust’s permanent collection, which features a host of items all relating to the history of public health. We were then confronted with questions to do with the human body. Mercedes Gleitze, the early 20th Century swimmer who also features in At Home in the Water, swam for reasons to do with endurance, but also for its wonderfully euphoric effect on the body. Cold water swimming is famous for its health benefits, and became something of a ‘craze’ in pandemic and post-pandemic Britain.

After lunch, we went to Somerset House to visit a few open studios, and see Grada Kilomba’s, O Barco / The Boat.

Grada Kilomba’s, O Barco / The Boat

Situated in the Somerset Courtyard is a striking 140 of charred wooden blocks composing the ‘lower ‘hold’ of an historical European slave ship’. The blocks are hand-inscribed with a poem written in six different languages.

While the sea is often viewed as a symbol of freedom, O Barco / The Boat encouraged us to consider the fraught history of maritime colonisation. The installation is currently on tour; we encourage those who are able to seek it out.

‘What stories are told? Where are they told? How are they told? And by who are they told?’


We then visited a few unique galleries within the house. First, GALLERY 31: SWIMMERS LIMB, curated by Taylor Lemelle, featured a series of abstract art which, we realised, was not exactly related to swimming. In fact, the theme of the exhibit was that it had no theme. But we enjoyed it nonetheless!

We ended our excursion with the atmospheric We Can No Longer Deny Ourselves by SERAFINE1369. The installation was situated around the theme of how we experience time.

Volunteers enjoying the sound of time passing

‘I am late, I have lost, I did not arrive

On time

In this gap, this failure,

Time is mine

And this

Is a kind of solitude

And a frequency, an offering, a kind of light’



Bea with a pendulum

Featuring footage of artist Vanessa Daws’s hours-long endurance swim, At Home in the Water also begs us to consider how we measure time in moments which call for heightened endurance and perseverance.

After seeing so much in a day, we returned to Brighton anticipating Fabrica’s new exhibition even more than before. We were thrilled to have broadened our minds to the ways in which we can think about sea swimming, endurance and the arts, and relate them to our own individual experiences.


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