Passing Through

Performance, 1987


Passing Through – an outdoor journey on land and water

A large scale collaborative arts event the project was part of a residency process of performance workshops, rowing practice and lunches with local community groups:

Tower Hamlets Youth Arts Project (the ‘A’ team)
Grenfell School
The Somali Women’s Association
Rotherhithe Theatre Workshop
Tower Hamlets Women’s Music Workshop
City and East London Polytechnic
Isle of Dogs Youth Barge Club
Volunteers from the Whitechapel Gallery, Chisenhale Dance Space and Studios
Independent artists and friends

In the spirit of Flux/All Hallows Eve, the event aimed to celebrate women’s lives. Historically women ‘Pass through’ without trace or formal acknowledgement of their productivity and contribution; leaving their names on few public buildings, monuments, works of Art, shopping centres or territories; instead of bemoaning this fact, we were suggesting that perhaps this was a greener, less interventionist and sounder approach to life.

The mile wide performance on an around Victoria Park Lake and the Hertford Union canal used simple portable props: light and cloth, carried by boats. A cyclical effect was generated, with events building up and dying away – canal standing for the constant flow of history.

500 audience attended and 99 women participated (and one accidental man) in keeping with society’s tendency to overlook and normalize gender bias this was unpublicised.

Commissioned For

The Arts Council of Great Britain’s Performance Art Promoters Scheme in conjunction with Chisenhale Dance Space, additional funding from GLA and Tower Hamlets Arts Committee.


Victoria Park, the Hertford Union (Ducketts) Canal, Chisenhale Gallery and Chisenahale Dance space, London


lights, cloth, distress/signalling flares, rowing boats, florescent fishing floats, slide projection, nets, mirrors, hand torches, music composed for the event, misc. props


Mary Prestidge, Jan Howarth and Sam Morton


photography: Clare Dove

Related Artworks

Source, 1988
A Meeting Outside Time, 1988
The Blue Line, 1988
Skylight, 1992
Projected Landscape, 1993
GoldfishSCALE, 2000