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Bureau of Lost and Found

Emily Tracy and Lizzy Hobbs created  ‘Bureau of Lost and Found’ which was presented during Totally Thames Festival September 2014 with Up Projects The artists transformed the interior of the Floating Cinema into an imaginary bureau for lost and found articles from the Thames shoreline. 

mudlark is someone who scavenges in river mud for items of value, a term used especially to describe those who scavenged this way in London during the late 18th and 19th centuries but has continued into the present day to describe the activity of looking for interesting items from which tell us about London’s rich past.

The project presented the idea that The Thames is full of lost property. The Bureau hosts welcomed participants on board the Floating Cinema and invited them to share  or examine mudlarking finds with them. The hosts handed out the official paperwork, asking for a drawn record of  findings, and imagining the story that may have brought the item to the shores of the Thames. The participatory process inspired visitors to imagine who may have owned it, how far it had travelled and how it ended up in the river in order that it could be re claimed by it’s owner. The process was an amusing journey through bureaucracy, forms, rubber stamps and carbon paper, alongside accurate observation and drawing.

The artists held a evening animation workshop for adults and residents of St Katherine Docks, with a talk by Museum of London Archeology. Participants created flip book animations of finds from the foreshore.

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