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Rob St. John Shares Video For 'Surface Tension' Project
Luke Turner , March 24th, 2021 08:28

The environmental project is due for a release on ecologically-friendly vinyl

Audiovisual artist and ecologist Rob St. John has put together a video to accompany the vinyl release of his Surface Tension project, which saw him explore the sounds and habitats of the River Lea in London.

"In summer 2014, I was approached by Benjamin Fenton from the river conservation charity Thames21 with an unusual commission in mind: to design a project drawing from art and science to creatively explore water pollution in the Lea Valley in London," Rob St. John says. "This record is a product of that project, the result of almost a year of walking, field recording, film photography, research and experimentation. We published an artist book and CD in 2015, and I played some shows and had a couple of exhibitions of the 120 film photographs from the project in London and Glasgow."

The fruits of the project are now also getting a vinyl release via the Blackford Hill imprint, known for their high-end releases of work that engages with place. The vinyl can be bought from the Blackford Hill website. You can watch a psychedelic reimagining of what was once (and still can be) a toxic waterway via Rob St. John's kaleidoscopic map-mangling video for the track 'Tracing Static' above.

Speaking about the record's release, St. John says: "I'm delighted that the record is now being reissued on vinyl by Blackford Hill: it reminds me of being in my tiny, damp studio above Calderdale with tape loops whirring around the room, tube organ blaring, strings sawing, echo unit crackling. It's been beautifully designed by Tommy Perman and features new essays on the project by writer Richard King and Benjamin Fenton. The record is being pressed on 'eco-mix' vinyl, which reuses discarded cut-offs from other pressings, meaning each copy will have a unique colour and pattern; something like the oil slick swirls and eutrophic flares in the surface tension of the Lea."