The Monstrous Usk

Monstrous UskThe word Usk comes from the Brittanic word meaning ‘abounding in fish’ but for the people of Newport the river today is home only to seagulls and rats. The river has one of the largest tidal ranges in the UK and at low tide it transforms from  a ribbon of beautiful silver to that of a muddy, rubbish littered streak that has scratched its way through the city.

The river’s banks are thick with mud and treacherous silt and the tidal flow is strong. People regularly go missing along the banks, their bodies can take weeks to surface. The river is a killer and even experienced sailors have been caught out by its power.

My project investigates the notion that the river is a malicious and evil entity. In the past it was benign. Commerce and industry lined it banks and people were aware of the danger. Now the factories have closed and the land has been developed for luxurious riverside houses.

The river has become a giant and deadly beast that lurks on the door steps of people’s homes. It silently ensnares its prey at night and drags their bodies away.

As more and more people moved into the area urban sprawl is pushing them against the rivers banks. The danger is growing.

The text for the image captions comes from conversations I overheard whilst travelling around Newport. At night I tried to find locations that matched these captions whilst in the day I looked for signs of any monstrous presence.