Riverside Topographies: Phase One  —
Eleni Wittbrodt



This investigation delves into the ecologies and communities residing along rivers, exploring what art practice can offer them and identifying both positive and negative practices associated with a place-based art commissioning approach. Phase One will be a Research and Development process with Govan Graving Docks as a case study.

Since transitioning away from a fixed gallery space, our guiding ambition has been for the art we produce to be responsive to the environment in which we live.

This ethos traces back to the 1970s, echoing the principles that led to the establishment of the “Environmental Art” Department at Glasgow School of Art. Their students, many of whom become seminal figures of the contemporary Glasgow art scene, were encouraged to venture into the world, seeking permissions to create and install their work in public spaces.

The desire to remove art from institutions and bring it onto the streets underscores the essence of art as an activity – a process that cultivates conditions conducive to communication and community-building. Complementing this ethos is our commitment to environmental sustainability. Climate change adaptation serves as the primary guiding principle for the development of riverside projects, particularly given that these areas often coincide with flood plains.

Our plan

Phase 1: 2024, case study at Govan Graving Docks

  • Initial Research: Studying local DIY knowledge, self-publishing, community organising, and social histories.
  • Artist Exploration: Eleni Wittbrodt to conduct photographic and video survey of Govan Graving Docks and Clyde River, focusing on architectural absence and human displacement.
  • Community Workshops: Process-led exploration with community involvement, emphasising leftovers and abandoned infrastructures.

Possible Outcomes

  • Project Website & Publication: 16NSt to maintain a project website serving as a research journal, documenting texts, images, and reading lists. Collaboration with Wittbrodt to produce a publication under 16NSt Press
  • Take-home-art: Involving community members as illustrators, writers, and photographers, showcasing found photos from various archives and our artistic outcomes. 

Phase 2: 2025

  • Design Approach: Developing a plan for ethical and sustainable temporary structures to support future cultural provisions and hold the records of past endeavours – a modular, climate conscious “meeting point”
  • Consultations: Consulting architectural and historical records, maritime labour heritage, and wetlands ecology.

Curated by Aga Paulina Młyńczak with Kelly Rappleye

The resulting publication will be curated under the editorial oversight of Nell Cardozo.