Wellspring

Commissioned by The Spring Arts & Heritage Centre, Havant
September 9th to December 28th December 2019

“Wellspring – the place something comes from or starts at; a source of continual supply”

Wellspring is a new video installation specially commissioned by The Spring for the mezzanine space, inspired by the processes and phenomena of Havant’s springs. Havant is peppered with natural springs, supplied by water that has been filtering through the chalk karst landscapes of the South Downs for thousands of years.

The springs drew early settlers to the area and industries such as brewing, milling, tanning, parchment and glove making flourished because of this abundant natural water source. The hidden nature of the springs belies the important role they have played in Havant’s past and their significance still today.

Wellspring takes an extraordinary look at the interactions of chalk and water as they move through space using high speed film to create extreme slow motion. Filmed in a studio at 2000 frames a second, the fast moving process of water pouring over chalk and leather, and falling fragments of chalk is slowed right down. Each interaction becomes apparent and when seen together creates a constantly evolving landscape. Extreme slow motion gives a sense of monumentality to small events that might otherwise go unnoticed and reveal an otherworldly environment in everyday processes.

Sound recordings taken from the springs, rivers and landscapes of this area have been layered with other recordings to form a soundscape for this slowly evolving environment. Mirrors have been used to extend the sense of an infinite terrain and to create an immersive space for the viewer to rest and observe. The duration of the video showing in the mezzanine space is 35 minutes and is looped to run continuously.

The 22 minute long video playing on the monitor nearby draws a connection between the chalk white leather landscapes seen in the mezzanine space and the spring water, which was an essential part of the leather glove making process. The cyclic nature of the water flowing through the leather gloved hands, like sand flowing through an hourglass, marks the passing of time and can never be caught.