Along the Deptford Creek as the tide recedes, mudlarkers descend onto the bank, accessing a non-linear history of detritus.
Mud is a lowly substance; often a metaphor for worthlessness, mud’s lumpen materiality invokes that which has failed to coalesce, to become more coherent. However, in its propensity to bury things in a filthy embrace or occlude things from the light, mud also acts as a protective sheath or storage medium for remnants, artefacts and treasures of the surface world. Mudlarkers scour these terrains for such serendipitous discoveries, and the river’s cyclical churn in turn reveals mud’s secrets.
Seemingly random finds chronicle the history of settlements along the river, as commerce, warfare, navigation, agriculture and colonialism have littered the Thames with their activities and exploits since pre-Roman times. The mud of Deptford Creek glistens as the tide recedes, and along the banks of the Thames, a community of people descend onto terra firma to access a non-linear time capsule of muddy detritus.
Engaging with themes of time, history, archaeology, geography and material sciences, our Mudcast is an interdisciplinary proposal centred around mudlarking activity in the locale of Deptford. The project will combine interviews, field recordings, music and poetry to create an auditory experience of the murky fringes of the mudworld.
With thanks to Anna Borzello, Esther Leslie, Ted Sandling, Nicole and the other mudlarkers at Deptford beach.
Mudcast was aired on AAJA Radio, on Friday 16 July, you can listen to the full set here
James Hendrix Elsey is an artist and researcher at the New Centre for Research and Practice. Research interests include conceptions of networks of care, doomsday, and time systems.
Alasdair Milne is a theoretical writer interested in weird &/or composite systems. He is a doctoral researcher with Serpentine’s Creative AI Lab and King’s College London.
Elaine Tam is an arts professional and writer. Interests include psychoanalytic theory, interdisciplinary collaboration and the curatorial as organisational model.
Together they produce audio and textual work as part of the Geopoetics research group. Their previous broadcast David’s Transterranean Dream aired earlier this year as part of Montez Press Radio’s ‘alternative education’ program. Subtexts, their published collection of speleological art writing, is forthcoming.