Piped Poetry, Futurecity, 2008


Piped Poetry, Limited edition of 100, signed and numbered, published by Futurecity, 2008

See book: Piped Poetry PDF

This book is the project publication of Piped Poetry, an intervention and text-based work by Bettina Furnée working with pupils from Millbank Primary, commissioned by Futurecity. All 52 works photographed by Lucy Levene and reproduced in full colour on French folded pages, all texts by Year 5 pupils on coloured sugar paper inserts, Murky Thames poem, DVD.

  Piped Poetry PDF (dragged) 1

Introduction by Claire Foster, Curator, Futurecity

“Quiet and contemplative, witty, powerful and at times strange, ‘Piped Poetry’ is an engaging and imaginative work.

Through a series of poetry workshops and archaeological visits to the banks of the Thames, Bettina has developed a text based work with the school’s pupils. The resulting legacy of this commission is a series of thought-provoking text interventions sited throughout the school and a poem, ‘Murky Thames’, compiled from contributions from each of the children.

The building’s plumbing system has become a metaphor for a river. Stencilled by Bettina across washbasins, cisterns, Victorian pipework and water storage tanks, ‘Piped Poetry’ tells the story of water’s journey through nature and its use by man, as see through the eyes of schoolchildren. Accompanying the work is this exclusive limited edition of artist’s books, documenting the artwork through a series of photographs and a film.

Bettina has carefully selected sites in the school that are reflective of the meaning in each fragment of the poem. Some are difficult to find, others awkward to read, others bold and obvious. ‘People normally get wet’ shouts from a row of three sinks in the boys toilets, with ‘Splash hard’ on the cistern above the urinals. A curving pipe reads ‘Go on, surf the wave’, a cut-off pipe states ‘Lost to the world’. In the school’s basement, ‘Deep in the ocean are the secrets that I want to reveal desperately’, stretches in super-size font across the room’s ceiling.

This is a work that asks to be traced and explored. Like the course of a river across a landscape, it wends its journey through the building, at times going underground, at times bubbling to the surface demanding to be seen and at times quietly pooling in a corner, awaiting discovery.”


– Barratt West London – Futurecity – Assael Architects – Thames Explorer Trust

– Bettina Furnée, Artist – Paul Lyalls, Poet – Colin Stevens, Filmmaker – Thomas Gray, Sound Design – Lucy Levene, Photographer – Imagist, Graphic Design


– Pupils & Staff of Millbank Primary School, with special thanks to headteacher Alyson Russen, class teacher Rachel Story and children in Year 5 (200708)

Photographs © Futurecity Ltd

Piped Poetry PDF (dragged)

See book: Piped Poetry PDF