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An Archaeology of Soul

MA Show Installation
City & Guilds of London Art School


Inspired by Wapping foreshore, this installation is rooted in material and inner alchemy and addresses the necessity of connecting to our past in the contemporary digital realm.   

I have attempted to recreate the liminal space of the shore, a potent cauldron for alchemy to take place. Objects found along the shoreline, containing traces of the past, become metaphors for ‘shadow’ aspects of the human psyche: sculptures on metal stands rise from a ring of sand, tracing the (r)evolution of a laughing gas canister which, through interacting with healing plaster ‘casts’, transforms from a buried/forgotten object to a visible/valued one.  Use of papier mache subverts traditional material hierarchies in which the weighty and 'masculine' outrank the lowbrow, domestic 'feminine', reflecting my attempt to transform the burden of repression and trauma into something ‘light’ through material reclamation. A music video 'The Dance' (below) represents me taking responsibility for my own healing, no longer hiding behind symbolic objects as surrogates.  Five female forms developed onto sunlight-sensitive cotton honours those drowned as ‘witches'. Their celestial whispers, as if from the water’s depths, fill the space, demanding to be heard.


The collection embodies a matrixial, circular approach to healing that reconnects humans to one another, to nature and to our past: an invitation of somatic re-awakening.

The Dance by Persephone
(my musical alter-ego)

This track explores the push and pull of masculine and feminine energetic dynamics inside us. The masculine needs independence and fears he can never be enough for the feminine. The feminine desires connection and fears being too much for the masculine. However, through understanding what the other needs, the energies can learn to dance together, embracing polarity and co-creating inner harmony. (NB. This is not a statement about gender stereotypes but energetic polarities. The terms masculine and feminine could be interchanged with avoidant + anxious, or connection + freedom if that resonates)


The location of Wapping foreshore acts as a cauldron within which a transformation - an ‘archaeology of soul’ - takes place. Culturally, the shore is a threshold between two worlds: sea and land, air and water, visible and invisible. The river water acts as an alchemical dissolving agent for inherited ancestral, past life or owned trauma. As objects from the past are dredged up by the waves onto the liminal space of the shore they change from buried and lost into visible and found. And so do we have the possibility of finding, embodying and dancing with our own inner polarities: broken and healed, masculine and feminine, past and present, dark and light.


The waves in the sea reflect that we too are comprised of endless individual parts within a vast whole. By dredging up the aspects of us we've kept underwater, we also bring light to collective shadows. We reconcile disconnection from Nature, the planet, each other, the past. Will we stay on the shore, watching the waves, learning to dance? Or will we be dragged by the tide, back into the watery depths of the collective unconscious?

In service of the calcination stage of the alchemical process, I set fire to my dissertation at Wapping shore in a ritualistic act of closure, acknowledging the cyclical nature of all things.  It was out of the writing's ashes that its visual successor, 'An Archaeology of Soul', was born.


Below is a video from my semi-existent Tik Tok page, of the burning.

My practice/process - and this dissertation - are the alchemised ashes of my previous practice/state. I am whole. So, now what?

The prospects of my dissertation are not good...

I have executed it and I have executed it - just like the poor folk at Wapping shore.

I have offered it to the river, where it will be dissolved.

What gold will I make from its ashes?

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