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The Sensory Attunement Coracle

Tuning in to London’s River Roding

Ryan Powell

The Human Seed Pod is a fully enclosed version of a coracle (a type of boat that has been used for fishing and transport in the UK since at least the bronze age). It will be made using traditional techniques using coppiced willow or hazel. There is a hatch to enter which is then covered up so that it is pitch black inside. A person crawls inside and lies down, half curled up in the seed-like boat, and is gently towed downstream for a set duration (maybe 10 minutes) by a person on the bank who has a rope connected to the pod.

It is completely dark in the pod. You curl up to fit inside and are pushed out onto the flowing water. Even the slightest wind or movement of your body causes the boat to rock. You lie, unseeing, and tune in to the shifting sonic environment around you and the feeling of your body suspended in space.


After an initial voyage by the artist, the piece will be adapted for display in a gallery setting. The pod will be suspended from a wooden frame by rope so that when a person gets in side there is a slight rocking motion similar to being out on the river. Inside the pod a sonic journey down the roding will be played on a loop.


  • Sensory embodiment: Listening to the world, without sight is an unfamiliar experience for most. What do you learn from tuning in to your other senses? Feeling the sensation of your body in space, floating, the boat brushing against reeds. Moved by wind and flowing water

  • Rivers and waterways: the piece will invite people to pay close attention to a neglected and polluted river in East London

  • Birth: it’s a very womb-like object. Also floating on the water, moving through the world without any agency of your own – being moved. Becoming a seed – full of latent potential, lying dormant

  • Craft: folk history, commoning, coppicing, historical links between humans, waterways and natural materials

Initial tests in working with willow:


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