Footnotes to Water by Zoë Skoulding
PBS Winter Recommendation 2019
Footnotes to Water imagines a river as a transverse section, cutting through urban and rural spaces, connecting places that are themselves in flux. Zoë Skoulding follows the mysterious path of the culverted Afon Adda in Bangor, close to where she lives, as it draws her into conversations with the city as well as with the sound of the river itself, half-heard under the metal plates of the observation chambers along its route. It leads her to the Bièvre, a lost Parisian stream that once ran through streets of tanneries and past the Gobelins tapestry factory, where the quality of a famous red dye was attributed to the river’s polluted water. Following literary traces as well as exploring landscapes, a sequence on hefting sheep links the two rivers, extending the idea of local habitat or cynefin to encompass the interweaving lives of different cultures and species.