Above: Short animated extract from River-Born, featuring poetry by Li Po.

Devised by Kieron Maguire, myself and The Cabinet of Living Cinema, River-Born is a live audio-visual show exploring the concept of the river and its influence on mankind, premiered at the opening night of Bournemouth Arts by the Sea Festival 2014. Our first collaboration with illustrator James Brown, the show also features spoken word accompanied by VJ-ing from me, my animation shown above and live performance video art in the vein of The Kingdom of Paul Nash.

River-born takes as its starting place a piece of local Dorset history: Carl Jung’s 50th birthday in 1925 celebrated in Swanage with a cigar and “an extra bottle of wine”. Jung once said that primordial images are

“like a deeply graven river-bed in the psyche, in which the waters of life, instead of flowing along as before in a broad but shallow stream, suddenly swell into a mighty river”.

From this powerful metaphor, the Cabinet create a bridge spanning 8th century river poetry of Li Po, Ted Hughes’ 1983 book River, and the concept of the primordial image – or “archetype” developed by Jung in this period.

Accompanying the verse of Hughes is tabla, Li Po dulcimer and a violin piece especially commissioned for the performance is inspired by the Nordic myth of the Neck, the river-dwelling violinists. Completing the piece we meet Jung in graphic novel form delivering his river-born metaphor.

Written & directed by Kieron Maguire Animation Tom Brown Illustration James Brown