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i washed a river in the river


2021 analogue film-performance negatives, canal water, RC photo paper

  I undertook a two-week houseboat residency on the Regent's Canal in London in April 2021. Originally from Taiwan and living in the UK, I rethought the relationship between the islands, the water, the body and the self during the residency. This led to a series of works around the waters of the canal. The following is what I did after continuously taking a roll of 135 negatives of the canal's surface.

  I use the process of producing an image as an exhibition. The continuity of this performance depends on the 'unfinishedness' of the image. As long as the image is in an unfinished stage, the performance can continue to circulate. For me, the image on the paper is not a completion. Hanging a photograph on a gallery wall is not finished either. I am still on the road to finding the definition of completion. But at the same time, I am also recording the gestures I make along the way as another possibility for exhibition. At this point the camera and the film become a prop, and the local river becomes the means. I try to explore the nature of the process and the outcome within the self-imposed limitations.

Part 1: Processing Films with Regent's Canal Water

(see the documentary here)


step 1. collect the canal water

step 2. make all chemicals with the water in the darkroom

step 3. bring the equipment and the chemicals back to the canal

step 4. process the films

step 5. dry the films by the canal

portfolio_Shou-An Chiang.jpg

Part 2: Print Photos with Regent's Canal Water

(see the documentary here)

step 1. make all chemicals with the canal water
step 2. enlarge, develop, stop and fix the photos in the darkroom step 3. bring the photos to the canal and wash them in it
step 4. dry the photos by the canal
step 5. document the process with a super 16mm film
step 6. process the super 16mm film with the canal water too


Part 3: Exhibiting the photos in the tanks filled with the canal water

step 1. immerse the photographs in water.
After three weeks, the coating is eroded by the water.
The image melted into the water and the paper turned white.

step 2. as an experiment, I stitched these blank photographs back together to make a river again.


Another outcome: photobook


By assembling the images into a book, it becomes a physical stacking of time with layers and thickness.

Please see the info here

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