‘TIDE’ is a multi-layered creative research project by Tania Kovats which examines the uniquely dynamic nature of tides in the UK.
‘TIDE’ is a multi-layered creative research project examining the uniquely dynamic nature of tides in the UK, bringing together a body of direct environmental research into physical, published and digital artworks. Kovats was commissioned by the National Trust in 2015 to research and produce a work celebrating Project Neptune and the National Trust’s custodian ship of coastal landscape. Her response was the sculpture TIDE: working with an itinerant foundry, a bronze bell was cast on a beach at Land’s End, where high tide arrives in the UK off the Atlantic, on the autumn equinox. This bell was exhibited at Somerset House, London, and rung by members of the public at the exact moment of high tide on the river Thames, marking the dynamic elemental tidal clock manifested by the river.
An accompanying eponymous digital work was developed during this period, whereby Kovats collated tidal information from around the UK to make a live slow-moving digital drawing that demonstrated the path of high tide around the UK’s shoreline, which was publicly accessible online for one year.
The research for TIDE led into Kovats’s publication Dirty Water: London’s Low Tide (2017), a publication of Kovats’s writing, drawings and collated visual material, telling a visually driven narrative of the river Thames in the form of a free newspaper where Kovats’s strategy was to appoint the river as the editor of the newspaper. Sixty thousand newspapers were distributed to those crossing the river Thames at low tide on the autumn equinox. As a result of the project, Kovats was Tideway’s artist-in-residence on the river Thames (2016). Tideway is the company installing the new ‘super sewer’ for London, so the publication addressed environmental as well as cultural, historical and economic significance of the forceful tidal character of the river in London’s narrative.