Monday, November 22, 2010

High/Low - new public art on Creekside

Those walking across Ha'Penny Hatch very recently may have noticed a new structure erected on the wall of Faircharm Trading Estate. Some bulbs mounted on the structure may have been lit up as you crossed. This is what it looked like last night at around 7.30pm...
At the time, the tide was out. But you'd probably not want to be walking across the bridge at this time since it is mostly in darkness except for lampost light a few metres away each side of the crossing.

This piece of public art has arrived without fanfare. But I recognised it as an idea from the Creekside Charrette in 2008, the documentation for which was published in 2009. One of the proposals for public art came from 'internationally-renowned multidisciplinary artist/designer' Shona Kitchen. Shona proposed, among other ideas, "a ‘High-Low Tide CafĂ©’, a visual landmark on the Faircharm Industrial Estate rooftop that would be seen from the Ha’penny Hatch Bridge and other vantage points." (page 34 of the Charrette report)

Here is a mock-up of Shona's proposal for the High-Low Tide Cafe...

Could this be the same artist? Yes, a quick look at Shona Kitchen's website, and under 'Current Projects' is listed "HIGH/LOW - A public art work for Deptford Creekside Art in Regeneration, London"...Er...that's it...

Well, it's pretty at night. But you'll be lucky to catch it when either word is lit up in full. At high tide today (1.40pm) only part of the 'HIGH' was lit. And at low-tide this morning at 6.30am, no LOW...

It is also only visible to those on the DLR or mainline trains and those crossing the bridge, and perhaps from the top floor of Laban or from a penthouse in one of the new developments. It is strangely pointless since from these vantage points just by looking at the water you can see whether the tide is high or low. By looking at the direction of the water flow you can also tell whether the tide is coming in or going out. That would tell you whether a partly lit HI might become a fully lit HIGH.

But it is pretty at night...

Meanwhile, down at the Creekside Village, the new tower is going up apace, and now we have fountains with lights...I went back to look in the evening but they were turned off...or perhaps this is also tidal driven and only works when the tide is in...?


  1. Fabulously useless!

  2. I like this. I like that it resembles the steel girders nearby of the Ha'Penny Hatch. I like the letter style (I'm told it's Gill Sans or similar, same as the BBC use, so that's probably why it feels familiar and timeless). I don't mind that it has no useful purpose in predicting tides. Anyone know more about who paid for it and how it got there?
    The fountain thing down by the new building looks run of the mill, probably not tidal!