Sharon McElroy Artist and Filmmaker
Disturb_ance Wetlands Unravelled
Disturb_ance is a continuation of my working practice of using narrative film, costume and installation to respond to a site or situation. Undertaking comprehensive research of a specific context is intrinsic to my practice and I have extensive experience of operating within a range of environments and communities. The characterizations, costumes and props I create are a way of interpreting textiwithin a socio-political framework, and are utilized to expose existing, often hidden narratives and to create new ones.
In this piece, themes of conflict, invasiveness, toxicity and displacement are enacted within a managed wetland environment through the costuming and performances of four hybrid anthropomorphic forms: The Aqua Bird, The White Poisoner, The Pond Foliate, and The Mussel Crab. Each character has its own distinct identity and aesthetic, the inspiration for which is drawn from urban mythology, folkloric seasonal festivals, and popular culture as well as the history and context of the London Wetland Centre site itself.
Disturb_ance explores the often hidden struggles for habitat, food and breeding opportunities among co-existing flora and fauna species and the potential conflicts that arise from the incompatibility of some species. It aims to highlight the importance of habitat management and species preservation as well as drawing attention to some of the negative human interventions that impact ecosystems. Examples that are explored in this work include the introduction of invasive aquatic plants and the widespread use of contaminants and pollutants all of which compromise the quality of wetland habitats and water channels.
As the metaphorical battle between ‘good and evil' plays out, there is a sense of claustrophobia and forboding; What will the be the consequences if destructive forces remain unchecked?
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