Deptford Creek

Deptford Creek is an uncovered creek (one of the rare examples in London) and has still a considerable amount of wetlands on either side. Most tributary rivers of the Thames are invisible nowadays, flowing through sewer pipes under the pavement. Others are canalised and have flood barriers, losing significance as natural habitat. Deptford Creek is still ‘wild’. Although most people refer to the creek as a muddy mess, it is in fact an amazing ecosystem supporting many plants, birds, insects and micro-organisms. The Creekside Discovery Centre protects the area and organises many activities in and around the creek, most famously low tide creek walks that offer a profound experience to urbanites. Surprises are literally scattered along the creek. Discarded shopping trolleys provide shelter for small fishes, a raft is used as a nesting place for birds and the numerous nooks and crannies of the river walls provide habitat for a wild array of different plants and flowers. Shrimps and crabs can be caught with simple fishing nets. The intensity of the current, the reflection of the sunlight on the water, and the changing visual and sonic perspective together result in a regaining of respect for the natural powers that surround us and shape us.

Creekwalk

In an ongoing collaboration several projects are developed together with the Creekside Education Trust, a series of short videos will be made available through their website and workshops combining botanical interest and analogue filmmaking are organised. Also, the Creek will be used to ‘harvest’ organically produced images on 35mm motion picture film. Time-lapse footage of the tides will show the dynamics and different forces that are at work here.

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Posthuman map of London

Nature and urbanity are mostly seen as conflicting notions. In a series of case studies I am looking at examples where both come together. By looking at successful models, proposals for new and expanded integration will be developed. The first case studies focus on Deptford Creek, an urban nature reserve, a solitary tree on the corner of Cheapside and Woodstreet in the heart of the City of London and the infamous London Tube mosquito.

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Expanded cinema and Ecotopia

In October 2013 I started a research project at the University of the Arts London, with the aim to develop an expanded cinema project that evokes an alternative future.

The future that I envision involves a symbiotic approach, not only bringing social justice to human beings, but also taking other species into the equation. This does not necessarily mean a return to a primitive rural society. A radical different approach towards politics, law, economy and technology could lead us to a new type of civilisation. Our politics could be based on mutual needs instead of blind competition. Our law could be based on protection of real value instead of protection of private property, our economy on achieving social and environmental purposes, and our technology could help to support and further these aims. In such a civilised society, our cities could change into wildly diverse places, accommodating many other species besides humans. Our culture could cross over between these species, bringing unexpected new and exciting dreams and desires, new forms of culture and art, on a planet that is full with possibility.

This blog will be dedicated to my ongoing research project, bringing the different topics together and establishing unexpected links.

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