Caught by the River

Shadows & Reflections: Kate Carr

Kate Carr | 5th January 2017

…In which, as we enter a new year, our friends and collaborators look back on the past twelve months and share their moments;

If I had written this piece about two weeks ago, it would have been about what a dreadful year 2016 has been in so many ways. But it seems to have almost already become a cliché to hate on 2016, so I am going to try for something slightly more positive.

For me, 2016 feels like two or three years rolled into one. The first six months were amazing, and very dramatic. I spent a lot of time exploring underwater recording and the broadcasting of sounds in the Seine in France and from a broken down pier on a fjord in northern Iceland. I was always surrounded by water, and became obsessed by it. I was also always cold, and very often wet. There were moments in this first half of the year where I had to stop and just take a moment to let it sink in that I was somehow eking out a living of sorts travelling the world, wading into streams, and sitting on freezing piers in Iceland watching fishing boats come and go while recording sounds I was broadcasting underwater. It might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I felt in these moments like one the luckiest people on earth!

One of the many highlights of this first part of the year was rebroadcasting and recording this Icelandic sailing song sung by the local choir of ólafsfjörður underwater from my broken pier.

In France I was given the very old giant metal key to an unused church where I spent many also very cold evenings among the dust, candles and shadows recording the reverberations of that wonderful building.

These were all very beautiful moments, and I feel very privileged to have had them.

Perhaps it began because of all the water which surrounded me this year, but 2016 has also been a year in which I have obsessively photographed both reflections and shadows.

A habit which I’ve continued since I moved from Belfast to London in June.

This second part of the year has been exhausting, exhilerating and distressing. Politically it is clearly a very worrying time for anyone who leans towards the progressive side of politics, and I’ve never found myself so personally and emotionally impacted by political events – from Brexit, to the treamtment of refugees and the tragedy in Syria, to the rise of Trump – as I have this year. I have also been exceptionally busy, a little too tired sometimes in parts, and although I love travelling, I’ve longed to spend a little longer in my new home in London than I have managed so far.

But like I said I’m sick of bagging on 2016. I’ve actually had some wonderful opportunities, experiences and achievements this year and I look forward to a slightly quieter, more homely, but no less challenging 2017.

Kate Carr on Caught by the River/on Twitter