Walking piece details
I write this abstract in lockdown living in Bath (UK), imagining Guimarães (Portugal). Both are UNESCO World Heritage Cities known for their natural spa waters, archaeology and beauty. These are liquid locales built upon mineral fluidity. Places shaped around the presence of ancient water that has flowed for thousands of years deep within the geology and archaeology of the land.
This paper takes the form of three lenses. First, a synthesis of place. A cross-disciplinary consideration of the geology, archaeology and history of Bath (and Guimarães). This is a palimpsest, layering knowledge into a shared cartography. Water becomes the second lens. The thermal water from the spa in Bath flows into the adjacent River Avon, its ancient spa water molecules fusing with the contemporary river water. I follow the flow and walk the riverbank from Bath to the village of Saltford. Here, my footsteps become a conversation between two women: Sulis, an Iron Age deity worshipped at the spa in Bath and Tanit , the goddess of Carthage (Tunisia) whose image is on an Iron Age coin found in the river at Saltford. Through my walking, water becomes the narrative where I layer sound recordings (and film) into a coalescence of identities. The third lens is embodiment, a phenomenological consideration of corporeal presence, explored through ideas of topophilia, essence and reverie. This is a sensory praxis, a combined knowing of body, time and liquid states. As such, I propose that we can engage with and explore heritage in far more nuanced, sensory and shared ways, where water, walking, history, the body and identities come together.