ELAINE (MEI LIN) TAM



is an itinerant curator, writer and researcher from Hong Kong currently living and working in London. She collaborates with artists and thinkers to create new forms and forums for critical engagement. Research interests include psychoanalytic theory, performance writing and feminist new materialisms.

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FORTHCOMING AUTUMN 2022
Urbanomic K-Pulp Switch





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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 science, Mudcast is an interdisciplinary project 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.

This project was commissioned by AAJA Radio on the occasion of Deptford X Festival 2021 and produced in collaboration with James Hendrix Elsey and Alasdair Milne. Big thanks to Anna Borzello, Arthur Gouillart, Nick Harris, Esther Leslie, Ted Sandling, Nicole and the other mudlarkers at Deptford Beach. 

Images:
1. Mudcast visual by James Hendrix Elsey
2. Mudlarking in Millwall. Author unknown, date unknown.
3. Constantin Hansen, Prometheus Creating Man in Clay (1845).
4. Photograph by Alasdair Milne.
5. Still image of mud-bath from the film Shrek (2001).
4. Robert Rauschenberg, Mud Muse (1968-71). Still image from ‘AT THE MUSEUM’, Museum of Modern Art.