Common Waters // Travelling Cart Workshop
Public Intervention, Community Workshop, Site Ecology 

Exploring the London canal network as both site and subject, Common Waters draws upon the notion of the immune system as a beyond human condition, whereby our own health and the health of our planet are interconnected and inseparable. Through a series of making workshops, that operate from the travelling cart, we explore both current and future social and biological ecologies of the canals and waterways in London, investigating how we gather environmental information through making practices.

Canals now function as these green ‘natural’ spaces but are a clear example of humans actively bending nature in order to serve their needs. It was important to move away from viewing the canals as permanent infrastructures, and instead appreciate them in their dynamic nature as water commons, understanding that the water doesn’t belong to anyone but must be cared for by everyone.

From the cart you are able to heat water for natural dyeing, carry tools and listening devices, process clay and drain dye baths using the sieve, have access to a tap, and extra table space.

Embodying the slow pace of canal life and the DIY / autonomous attitudes towards materials that are helpful when living on the canal, the workshops seek to resist the often overly sanitised and synthetic interactions we have with our environment on a daily basis.

The processes that operate from the travelling cart workshop exist visibly and are performed as the cart travels along the canal to generate conversations and encourage participation, showing alternative ways of existing in, connecting to and caring for the space.

The cart and the processes had the effect of illuminating the often hidden value of these spaces. It revealed how a collective care-taking of the canals by canal users, could provide autonomy to the communities that exist there as well as a reciprocal intimacy that allows both biological and social ecologies to thrive.

Workshops included:
-natural dyeing
-processing wild clay
-embodied listening
-wood carving
-cordage making

Building the cart using reclaimed waste materials