Hiddenplace is a series of new commissions for innovative and challenging approaches to public art in Burnley, Lancashire, focussing on specific sites in the town centre, and on hidden, lost and forgotten aspects of the town.

Jill Randall chose to focus on the 2 rivers which run, largely unnoticed, through the town centre.Randall wanted to reveal the hidden underbelly of Burnley town centre by floating a video camcorder on a specially-designed boat along the rivers Brun and Calder, through culverts and under bridges through the centre of the town. These 2 rivers mysteriously appear and disappear, to converge and form a single river at Active Way. Randall was also fascinated by the rivers being culverted in the past to literally flush out detritus from the town, functioning like internal organs, and mirroring human vascular and circulatory systems.

The camera was like the “eye” of the river, providing new and unusual insights from under the town, travelling and recording where no person can go, an illicit camera with access to all areas, crossing the boundaries of private, commercial and municipal , and an alternative way of navigating and linking the town centre.
The final result is the video “Eye of the River” – a short film 7 mins 24 secs long, with a specially-composed and performed soundtrack by composer Robin Walker ,which was shown at several unusual venues in Burnley Town Centre from Sat 2nd -Mon 11th May. The idea was to intervene in a quiet way , using existing screens, and for the public to encounter the video as they went about their daily business around the town.
With the collaboration of co-producer, David Bennett, and composer Robin Walker, who has strengthened the films narrative with his quirky and inventive soundtrack, it proved to be an ambitious 3-way collaborative project.

Jill Randall said….”I had a very simple idea which proved very complex to realise! I had to turn inventor to work out the logistics of how to keep the camera dry and enable it to point in different directions, plus coping with inquisitive ducks , intrigued anglers, and not falling in !!!
All in all, it was a great challenge which has opened up lots of new possibilities. Some of those culverts were seriously spooky!!…”

Quotes from the public during screening week:-

“I feel as if I’m being taken on a journey of exploration”
“I often said to myself when I was a kid, ‘I wonder where that river goes?’………”
“Its nice to see a different view of Burnley”.

Visit the Hiddenplace website www.hiddenplace.org for more information.