Saturday 22nd May 2021 to
Sunday 13th June 2021
Wasted Voyages in the Thames Estuary is a collaboration between YoHa, local people in South Essex, Metal and the Digital Culture Unit, Goldsmiths, University of London to engage in a series of critical voyages, witness seminars and public assemblies into the materiality, culture, history of waste, as it affects the more than human environment of the Thames Estuary its peoples and the wider public.
Each voyage will engage in the historic and contemporary disposal of sewage and effluent, industrial and domestic rubbish, bodies, buildings and ships as it relates potentially to a series of specific public sites and organisations such as Wat Tyler Country Park in Pitsea.
Waste tips have become successful spaces where wildlife has flourished such as Canvey tip, Two tree island, Mucking Flats in Essex and Deadman’s and Burntwick Island in Kent. Such spaces are also haunted by the toxicity that lays just beneath the surface. Before 1994 and the introduction of the Waste Management Licensing Regulations by the UK government no records were kept of what was dumped. The only people who know what went into the ground or out to sea and under what conditions were the delivery drivers, barge masters and others who delivered, buried and dumped the waste. Most of the people who worked on the sites before 1994 are now in their 70s 80s and it is vital that these witnesses be listened to before the knowledge they have obtained is lost forever.
Witness seminars with elders who have vital and situated knowledge of waste and the flows of the river will create audio tracks for a video work that record the voyages made by boat to waste sites and or to replicate the journeys the waste travelled down the estuary.