Mud Mapping (2022)
Residency with The Hub for Biotechnology in the Built Environment.
Digital Video, Photography, Text and Microbial interactions...
Habit Ability Newbridge Project July-Nov 22
Hello OME pop up exhibition and Film screening.
Gateshead Library solo show
Oct 22-Jan 23
Conference presentation Mud Futures Shushant University India.
This work was produced over a four month period whilst I was artist in residence working with the Hub for Biotechnology in the Built Environment, a project funded by Gateshead Riverside Partnership.
My work explores tidal mudflats on the River Tyne, thinking about mud as a habitat, a slow-moving dynamic force in the landscape shaped by tidal flows and interactions with the microbial, animal and human life which live in and around it. The work aims to think about the complexity of mud, a material which is commonplace, has a low status and is not typically a subject for art.
A video work ‘Mud Mapping’ acts as a virtual journey along the Tyne from the Swing Bridge to the Saltmarsh Garden giving an account of the mudflats from multiple perspectives through the voices of scientists, ecologists and people who live locally. The river landscape was filmed over a period of four months, across different seasons and times of day capturing fragments of human and animal life. The journey ends at the saltmarsh garden, which I think of as a kind of conceptual time travel, an end point and a beginning. An ancient landscape which might point the way to a more sustainable future.
A related work ‘Where the Gut Meets the Tyne’ attempts to visualise the communities of microbes which live deep in the mud through the creation of Winogradsky Columns which use mud combined with egg yolk (a source of sulphur) and a newspaper (a source of carbon), both acting as food for microbes. To make these columns mud collected from the confluence of the rivers Team (the gut) and Tyne have been fed a newspaper article that I had collected at the beginning of the project, ‘10 species to Save the Planet’ an account of key species to combat pollution and climate change. Two species Curlews and Common Reeds can be found in the river landscape, over the course of the exhibition the microbes will digest this information; slowly become visible in the form of brightly coloured blooms in the mud. The large scale colour prints in the gallery and by the windows are made from scanned sections of this article prior to it being fed to the mud.
With thanks to Clare Ross, Dr Angela Sherry, Emma Jude and The Friends of Dunston Staiths for sharing their knowledge of this landscape and whose voices appear in the film.