Lighting up the Lea Artist Commission 2023 - Winners announcement

Cody Dock is delighted to announce the first LUTL Arts Commission has been awarded to the environmental sound artist Tom Fisher also known as Action Pyramid.

This exciting artist commission funded by the Cockayne Grants for the Arts, The London Community Foundation and The National Lottery Heritage Fund has provided the opportunity for one lucky artist to immerse themselves in this remarkable and rapidly changing environment through a 5-month residency that will culminate in the creation of a new public art installation at Cody Dock.

Specifically, the commission highlights the previously un-celebrated ecology that exists within the 2 km stretch of Tidal Lea, showcasing the data collected by approximately 2000 local volunteers during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Responding to the findings of the Cody Dock Tidal Lea River Ecology Report, Tom has installed an interactive listening post at Cody Dock which consists of hydrophones immersed within the Lea River, relaying a normally hidden soundscape from below the water’s surface.

“It has been a real pleasure to begin working on this commission, with the river Lea often being a source of inspiration for my work. The chance to spend extended time exploring, listening to, and learning about the local tidal ecosystem and surrounding habitat has been really wonderful. Something that is often a feature of my practice is using sound as a means to help us reconsider a place. The site’s recent ecology report has been a fascinating starting point for me, and I’m very excited to begin to consider ways in which I can highlight the surprisingly wild and mysterious side of a location even as superficially urban as Cody Dock.”

Tom Fisher AKA Action Pyramid

The listening post will be open to the public from the 30th of Jan 2024 and remain there once the final installation is launched in April. Visitors can listen in on these hidden sounds between 9 am and sundown and we’ll post more information about the launch soon – keep your eyes peeled!

“I am delighted by the artist’s approach to exploring the often overlooked biodiversity of the tidal stretch of the River Lea. An unexpectedly high number of species rely on this stretch of river including iconic UK river and estuarine species such as European Eels, Kingfishers and Grey Seals, but also introduced invasive species such as Golden Clam, Virile Crayfish and Mitten Crab. The artist’s soundscape expertly explores and celebrates this abundance of interwoven life in what was a once forgotten urban waterway.”

 Gino Brignoli, Biodiversity Officer at Cody Dock

“The Lower Lea is rapidly changing and without wider appreciation and awareness of its incredible urban biodiversity we are on track to lose this rich diversity, just as people are rediscovering this under-appreciated corner of London. My hope is that this commission will quite literally help shine a light on the Lea whilst also producing a new piece of immersive art that inspires people’s imagination.”

Simon Myers, CEO at Cody Dock

The LUTL Commission:

Cody Dock’s 2023 ‘Lighting Up The Lea’ Arts Commission was an open invitation to respond to the findings of the Cody Dock Tidal Lea River Ecology Report. The work shines a light on the tidal Lea’s unsung and often unexpected environmental ecology. The commission aims to provide artists with a unique opportunity to reach local audiences, making a significant contribution to widening participation with the arts in Newham and increasing engagement with our natural environment.

The Cody Dock Tidal Lea Report

Published June 2022 by Gasworks Dock Partnership

Written & designed by the Cody Dock Environment & Ecology Team: Benjamin Bishop, (Former) Citizen Science and Environment Manager and Rosie Clewett, (Former) Environment and Ecology Officer

This project was funded by the Government’s Green Recovery Challenge Fund. The fund was developed by Defra and its Arm’s-Length Bodies. It was delivered by The National Lottery Heritage Fund in partnership with Natural England, the Environment Agency, and Forestry Commission.

Read more

About the artist

Tom Fisher is a sound artist and musician based in the marshy edge-lands of North East London. Working primarily under the name Action Pyramid his projects vary from site-specific sound installation and headphone based works for galleries and museums, to experimental radio works, documentary and music.

Headshot - Tom Fisher.

His creative practice involves using sound and composition to facilitate a reconsideration of our surroundings, examining the relationship between ourselves and the nonhuman, and our part in the wider ecologies of landscapes.

With a multitude of recording techniques, often aimed at exploring and re-interpreting the seemingly unnoticed and unheard elements of our surroundings, he looks to present compositional and spatial expressions of these acoustic phenomena in a way that attempts to offer up alternative perspectives regarding perceptions of scale, hierarchical bias and the interconnectedness of living things.

His work has been featured at LUX, Tate Modern, Tate Britain, Cafe OTO, The Grant Museum of Zoology, London Transport Museum, Project DIVFUSE (UK), Bibliothèque Nationale de France & Jardin des Plantes (FR), the Fjuk Art Center and Husavik Whale Museum (IS), as well as on BBC Radio 3 & 4, Resonance Fm, Radiophrenia, and as part of Archipel Festival (CH) & Open City Documentary Festival (UK). He is the winner of Phonurgia Nova Award 2021 in the Field Recording category.