The Somerset levels floods of 2013/14 left many people living semi-aquatic lives for months on end. Once familiar family homes were transformed and the levels became the subject of a story which drew attention from across the UK and around the world. Despite the overwhelming buzz of media attention, it was an experience that left many feeling isolated; caught in an otherworldly displaced space, where time stood still. The floods sparked great controversy about how and why they occurred and who was to blame for their scale and duration. Why ‘they’ let it happen and the way ‘they’ handled the situation became the subject of contentious debate and confrontation. THEY responds to stories collated from interviews of those affected; it reflects on the accounts people gave which brought to view a sense of forced adaptation to an otherworldly existence; on view yet disconnected from the outside world.
Emma Critchley is an artist who has worked underwater for over 10 years, graduating from The Royal College of Art in 2011. She is represented by Grimaldi Gavin gallery.
THEY was commissioned as part of the research project The 2013/14 Winter Floods and Policy Change, at University of Exeter.