Fragmented Storytelling
Caitlin Ferne McConnell

Material Value

People often feel a disconnect from bigger issues, global warming, climate crisis and ocean pollution.

By connecting or reconnecting people with the ocean and sea through their nearest water based environments, whether they be lakes, rivers, ponds, streams or estuaries, I aim to build a better awareness of, and connection with, the environmental struggles we face today. The creation of even the smallest network or system within our local environments will enable individuals to better understand the connections from local to global. The smaller scale network is what allows people to not become overwhelmed and thus enabling them to take action.

I discovered a sub-community within London, mudlarkers. They have an unwavering appreciation for and devotion to the search for discarded items. However when faced with my ‘ordinary’ finds they found them unimportant and boring. To them a broken piece of ceramics is not worth their expertise.

The fascination for me was around those washed up objects, discarded and dismissed by the mudlark community.

What makes them so enticing are the stories that these fragments I hold in my hand have to tell; the interactions with people, animals, the elements and other objects they have come in contact with throughout their journey.

The fragments of these once whole objects have given space in which to speculate about the past functions. This void of a whole object is replaced with endless stories of its fragmented life.

I set off to reconstruct the object found, using clay and pit firing.

Making these fragments into a whole object once again, give a physical space on to which histories can be projected. The reworking of the found fragments from the Thames into a new, whole object is the manifestation of just one of the many possible forms that it could have taken.

I have curated an exhibition that holds the fragments and the reformed objects made from the fragments. This is held in a small stream in the middle of the village Selborne. Contracting in size, form and aesthetic from the Thames.

The Nature of the exhibition allows participants to come and speculate on these fragments’ stories and histories. Gathering all these stories together to make one. The fragmented objects have a void that can be filled by the collective of the viewer. By interacting with the object they are building a network with London and their own local environment.

Through the storytelling, engendered by the fragments, we are encouraged to share another's feelings or experiences but imagining what it would be like to be in another’s situation - so creating empathy. It is that empath that connects the individual to the near or the far - to the local or the global problem, your village stream or the vast oceans. The freament allows a connection, engenders empathy and this will be one of the keys to our problem solving, building networks and solutions… maybe one day saving our oceans.