'Wrecked on The Intertidal Zone', was an art and citizen science collective inquiry that has uncovered and highlighted local knowledge about the changing ecology, society and industry of the Thames estuary. The project was conceived by artists YoHa, Critical Art Ensemble, Andy Freeman, Fran Gallardo, and arts organisation Arts Catalyst, and developed in partnership with local people in Southend and Leigh-on-Sea.
The Thames estuary is a complex collection of objects, atmospheres and flows that cannot readily be reduced to scientific methods and models. The estuary is changing rapidly with new industrial infrastructure in construction, including the largest container port in the UK. The estuary's sea marshes, tidal flats and muddy waters are critical wilderness zones for biodiversity conservation and species migration. Simultaneously, they are also zones for leisure and tourism, fishing grounds and the sites of historic wrecks.
This exploratory project, led by YoHa and Arts Catalyst, brings together a network of local people with artists and technologists to explore how local "situated" knowledge of the estuary can be combined with artistic investigations and citizen science techniques to explore and respond to a changing contested estuary.
Through a series of participatory workshops, public realm art projects and activities, which began in Summer 2014 and will continue at least to Summer 2016, Wrecked on the Intertidal Zone will profile ways of structuring information from situated knowledge (bird watchers, fishermen, mud walkers, amateur ecologists) and verifiable methods (monitoring networks and ambient sensors).
By fostering an ecology of practices, Wrecked on the Intertidal Zone aims to generate a critical interest in the complex influences governing these delicate environments.
The project resulted in a ublic art commission and 'anti-monument' Graveyard of Lost Species, a series of citizen science workshops and public 'tastings' of the thames and a recipe book (see below).
Graveyard of Lost Species by YoHa and Critical Art Ensemble
Talking Dirty by Fran Gallardo
Citizen Science workshops by Andy Freeman
Films were produced as a series of collaborative video documentations by James Ravinet, Jim Smith, Zander Mavor and Alistair Oldham: