Constructed wetlands & Deconstructed borders

June 2022

︎ write-ups (thesis research)
︎ journal


This is a continuing research into ecological thinking within the alternative photographic practice and into the application of constructed wetlands: a wastewater treatment method within the photographic darkroom. Instead of focusing on the remediation functions of wetlands, I follow their transformative processes and analyse how they inform processes within the photographic darkroom and wet bodies. I wade through shallow waters, follow creeping rootstalk of water mints and common reeds, and precipitate from the grains of soil. But I do not become remediated, I do not become clean. Instead, I get digested. As wetlands seep through the ecosystems, I become soaked until it is not so clear where my water and your paddle begins and ends. This paper is an invitation to explore the digestive cycle of wet bodies and to seek connection through the substances that flow in and out and processes that alter. I build on texts of feminist writers and explore concepts of material self through the methods of attunement, care, transcorporeality and establishing relationships with more-than-human in the photographic darkroom and perhaps further in life too.


Many thanks to:
Alison Sperling for thesis supervision and providing me with a warrior spirit;
Emma van der Leest for her positive energy that motivates me to get out of my petri dish and think outside of it;
Simon(e) van Saarloos for going through my thesis draft;
My schoolmates from Ecology Futures for growing up together into something else;
Edd Carr for giving care to wetland plants planted in Leeds;
Sustainable Darkroom collective for giving me an opportunity to engage in the research and for bringing together the community of alternative photographers;
Michiel Brand for encouragement during the time II wanted to give up;
SEA Foundation for providing a fertile ground;
Elena Lupoiu for deciding the font of the thesis and initial help with designing;
wetlands for providing the functions that I can learn from/with;
microbial consortia for mingling within the wet bodies;
and the gut feeling.