27 July 2012

Tracey Warr, Research Associate in Fine Art Theory has been awarded a grant to develop the River Runs project into an international research network examining a possible future Water Age.

Artists Nomeda & Gediminas Urbonas and writer Tracey Warr are behind the unique residency called River Runs. Their research on show in a three-week exhibition that will transform Modern Art Oxford into a unique River Research Centre this summer (30 July – 19 August) will include films of river journeys in Oxford, sculptures for immersed conversations, aquatic workshops and an interactive river landscape imagining a future in which we will be living with more water.

The residency will ask what part rivers play in defining our sense of individual and collective belonging. River Runs will also consider how we might imitate water-based birds, animals, plants and fish to adapt to a future environment with rising water levels and question why and how water is important to us.

Nomeda & Gediminas Urbonas, based at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, have established an international reputation for socially interactive artworks. They have been working collaboratively with Tracey Warr, Senior Lecturer in Fine Art Theory at Oxford Brookes University, in recent years including an investigation of the River Thames in Oxford and the River Charles in Boston and Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Speaking ahead of the residency, Tracey Warr said: "I'm a hydrophiliac - I can’t stay out of the water for long and I'm intrigued by various human and non-human experiences around the world of living on and in water. I'm exploring what scenarios climate change and future studies researchers predict for the hydrosphere and how artists might be able to contribute inspiring ideas and inventions for a future Water Age, much in the same way as many technologies we live with now were inspired by science fiction".

"I wonder if in the future some of us may live lives that are more amphibian and if, instead of being a dystopia, that might instead impact beneficially on the values that we live with and by. I'm also working with the Canal & River Trust and The Outdoor Swimming Society on a pilot Wet Symposium – asking people from various disciplines to discuss water-related issues in the water. From Archimedes' Eureka to Roger Deakin's Waterlog, immersion in water has a demonstrable track record of inspiring creative ideas".

Information on the exhibition opening times are available online at or via