Avon Stories podcast #20: The Avon Canoe Pilot project

Back in 2007, Bristol-based artists Kayle Brandon and Heath Bunting were making really interesting work together, including exploring the cities in different ways.  One of these was the Avon Canoe Pilot project, which had many strands: sport, trying to get a Blue Flag for the Harbour, dredging rubbish, clearing a jetty, swimming… all of which sound wholesome, but were done in incredibly subversive ways.

I read about this project on their joint website, and I was fascinated.  It made me wonder why I never see people on the Avon, only vehicles; to question my own relationships with the water; and it inspired me to start to push my own boundaries of how I relate to the water.  I was really happy they agreed to come on the podcast and talk more about why they were doing, how and why.

To find more about the various projects we discussed and more work relating to the water, follow the links:

There are lots more projects that Heath and Kayle worked on as the DUO Collective, on their website.

There’s more information about Kayle, including a list of works, bio and CV here.

Heath’s information is here, and you can also check out his wikipedia page and the Tate page about his A Terrorist – a status project and Tate video interview about that, and his BorderXing project.

All images are from the Avon Canoe Pilot Project booklet, and are used with kind permission of Kayle Brandon and Heath Bunting.

5 thoughts on “Avon Stories podcast #20: The Avon Canoe Pilot project”

  1. What a great project and story about how they made it happen. If only everyone could look at the water from a canoe and kayak view point of access then rivers everywhere would be better for all users.


    1. I really miss canoe/kayak life. Years ago, I was an outdoor activity instructor, and I loved that unique viewpoint from being so close to the water, and the pace, and everything about it. Since I moved to Bristol, I’ve wanted to paddle on the Floating Harbour, and see the infrastructure from that level, to understand it more, but I just can’t find a place to hire anything. I could join a class in one of those open-topped kayaks, but I don’t like them, and I don’t want to do a class, I want to explore. It’s endlessly frustrating, and if I ever get money to burn, I’ll buy one, and hire a space to keep it by the water – but no cash, no car etc makes me feel like I’ll never live this dream – so the Canoe Pilot project at least lets me live it vicariously!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I think by doing a podcast is a great way to still be connected to what you love. I know how you feel about open kayaks and classes. I always hate renting because it never has the feel of my own equipment. Hope you find your way back into a canoe or kayak in the near future.


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