CAnal Filth


Exploring the canal has peeled away layers and layers of implicit learning. As a child, trips along the canal meant open countryside, hedges, near tow paths, colourful barges, quiet, canal boat trips and pub lunches in the school summer holidays. Exploring the canal down from Curzon street has stripped back an altogether different layer of the canal as the canal becomes more urbanised.

Our group chanced upon a discarded and spread eagled magazine depicting private acts as if displayed on some open air museum cabinet. It reminded me of the display cabinets at university or in a museum displaying the inside of some beautiful manuscript from the middle ages with calligraphy and gold lettering. Allas this is all all but something different. This pornographic magazine may have been discarded as if some fleeting lust only to fall and ‘curate’ our new and broadening understanding of the canal and its layers.

Who tossed this magazine off the edge of the canal Bridge onto the banks of the Rea? Was it intentionally discarded, did who ever or whom ever not want someone to find it? There is something poetic about this magazine, not for its content but for what it represents as an artefact of social prejudices or insecurities. This magazine, this evidence, has been thrown away as if someone wanted to hide it but it ended up being available for all to see. This is a metaphor for many instances in our society, and in our own lives, where our business is often exposed without our wanting.

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