Another Water – Roni Horn

The original ‘Another water’ was a series of large images of the surface of the Thames supported by footnoted text, with the numerical references to the footnotes dotted over the surface of the images. The version I own is a book of the same, with the footnotes included, but no numbering visible on the images themselves.

By combining ambiguous images with text which includes quotations, news items and Horn’s own thought and commentaries the whole becomes a meditation on our relationship with water and rivers in general. I also found it invoked thoughts about what had driven the several suicide victims it mentioned to their fate, and to wonder what they may have been like as individuals and why they had chosen the Thames (some had travelled significant distances) for their final desperate act.

Setting that to one side though, for this review it is the physical structure which interests me the most. The images are printed full bleed on the top 90% of each double page spread with the footnotes in the remaining white strip at the bottom of each spread. There are also around 6 spreads which appear to contain summary police or coroner’s reports on victims recovered from the river.

The footnotes themselves appear largely to be Horn’s own words, interspersed with references to and quotes from fiction, film, poetry and music. In recent months I’ve accumulated a small number of these and I feel sure there are more available without forcing it. Horn’s citation come from sources which are not always directly related to her subject matter e.g. references to sound in  Antonioni’s Blow-up reminding her of the sound of the river.

As an example of my own, with relevance to my own final submission I found the following in Steinhart’s ‘The Company of Wolves’:

What have we seen here? Tracks in the snow. Hieroglyphs of struggle. Tufts of hair. Crystals of blood. What is the nature of the beast that left them? What is the nature of the world inhabited by such a beast? What’s going on here?

Time to make some progress…after months of procrastination I can finally see a genuine way forward.



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