Experiments in Foraging along the River Lea

Status: In Progress
River Lea, England

What if rewilding was a practice of gazing forwards into the future rather than returning to images of nature from our past? How do we restore our relationship with the land in places that are far removed from nature? What if we accepted the condition of our urban landscape as it is, and changed our relationships to invite wilderness?

Experiments in Foraging will build conceptually on our piece Wasteland Commons. We will question what relationships need to be restructured in order to achieve the speculative futures imagined in Wasteland Commons. We will use London and more specifically the areas surrounding the River Lea as a testing ground for these ideas.

The River Lea has historically served as a vein for industry and commerce. Commodification has been a central driving force in land enclosure and fracturing ecological relationships. It continues to be a conceptual barrier preventing the pursuit of a just ecological transition. This project brings together existing relationships we have already established with the local community along the River Lea to rethink how our relationship to the land could be reconfigured in the city. We will forage along the River Lea to build a new reciprocal relationship that isn’t determined by capital, allowing River Lea to unlearn aspects of its life as a carrier for commodities and reconnect with its past as an artery for life sustaining ecologies.

So far we have already begun experimenting with producing fish leather and parchment made from waste material collected in Fish Island and Poplar. The project will grow and be shaped by what else we can encounter along the way.