Something is stirring on Chester Canal

9 October 

Is there a mysterious creature that ate a chunk of earth from the bottom of the ocean, disrupting the flow of the water, causing a massive whirlpool; or a Superhero who blasted a villain during combat; or a massive serpent living beneath the water wagging its tail, causing destruction?

These are just some of the theories from pupils at Hoole C of E Primary School and Waverton Community Primary School to explain the ‘Maelstrom’ appearing in the canal by Chester’s King Charles Tower.

Maelstrom is the first artist commission to acknowledge Chester’s evolving relationship with water. The permanent artwork is being launched on Friday 27 October.  

David Cotterrell is an installation artist, and digital media specialist working across varied media including video, audio interactive media, artificial intelligence, device control and hybrid technology.   In consultation with theatre lighting engineers and audio visual professionals, David has devised a lighting projection system that will shift the understanding of the existing surface of the canal, through the illusion of shadows and movement. The projector will animate the water by overlaying the effect of light and shadow, giving the impression that a whirlpool appears and disappears.

Councillor Louise Gittins, Cabinet Member for Communities and Wellbeing said: “Chester’s Maelstrom will provide us with an excuse to stop, stare and notice a part of the city we often take for granted. It encourages us to see alternate viewpoints of the city and draws attention to the importance of the Shropshire Union Canal.  It is exciting to see artists using technology to offer new insight into the character of our city.” Maelstrom, whirlpools and eddies feature in western literature from The Odessey to Jules Verne, Herman Melville and Edgar Allan Poe.  The artist is inspired by the magnificence of these natural phenomena that creates awe.   

Chester is championing new technologies within artworks commissioned for the public realm. In addition to Maelstrom there is Hypercaust, an art commission by Bedwyr Williams that is also being launched on Friday 27 October (at Storyhouse).  

Discuss this article

Please see terms below before using this feature
Please be aware that the facility above is a Facebook service, posting your views will make some of your Facebook information visible to everyone (as with any Facebook activity).

The system administrators (VISAV Limited) monitor the content added. Any misuse or objectionable material should be reported to

The views expressed do not represent the views of the system administrators who are VISAV Limited, the Police, Neighbourhood Watch and other Information Provider using this service. The System Administrators make no guarantee, endorsement and accept no liability, regarding the discussion service above, including, but not limited to, its availability, accuracy, currency, content, quality or lack of objectionable or offensive content.

© 2019 Cheshire West and Chester. All rights reserved.