Swansula, Relics of Estuarine Magic, 2022, Barge House, OXO Tower.

Swansula is a portmanteau of Swanscombe Peninsula, an triangle of post-industrial, now biodiverse, marshland hugged by the River Thames in North West Kent, UK.

The site is made up of three areas of marshland surrounded by Industry, most of which has been left unmanaged for over thirty years, allowing nature to take hold.

A home for migratory animals, wetland birds and rare insects, connecting a network along the Estuary and beyond.

Swansula is the overarching name for an ongoing, site-specific, world-building project drawn from the landscape which imagines a radical and green future for the area.

Exploring the themes of home, ecology, magic, sustainability, community, migration, isolation and river pollution.

Swansula has gone through multiple evolutions:

Brownfield Sister, 2018 
A stand against the multi-billion pound development proposal from The London Resort. 

SQ Swansula Quartz 99, 2020
A fictional time capsule encasing a digital collection of artworks.

Relics of Estuarine Magic, 2021
A speculative archive of artefacts, instruments of magic, relics from the future, excavated from the fictional world of Swansula.

Presented online as part of the Thames Estuary Assosiated Programme 2021

Project Highlights

LUNMES Lunasaws Under New Moons Eve Summer 2045, 2020
Ink, mountboard, whitewood spruce, galvanised steel clout nail
120cm x 80cm x 12cm 

A documentary of the project development conducted at The Royal College of Art, 2020.

Grace at 65, 2057. 2019
Sketch for human scale narrative sculpture with moving image projected from dragonfly lens.

Swansula Bone, 2021. Made from melted and sculpted waste plastic bottles cleaned from the local stretch of River Thames

EP Ecomaton Phanti 1:6 scale model 2079, 2020
stop-motion puppet
120cm x 50cm x 150cm

Beetroot, blackberry and madder root bioplastic, aluminium, silver, copper, brass, rose fibre, natural rubber, linen dyed with weld,
recycled textile, found plastic, recycled OHP lens, copper, brass

Relics of Estuarine Magic

A speculative archive of artefacts, instruments of magic, relics from the future,
excavated from the fictional world of Swansula.

Swansula Letters and REM 13 Drawing of Amulet, 2021

Sailing The Viels, Ritual Sailing Barge 2021 

Found plastic, bullrush, flint, sea grass root, deer bone, duck feather, hawthorn, blackberry thorn, rose thorn and hip, dogwood, thistle, recycled aluminum, copper and cotton, algae and bladderwrack seaweed bioplastic.

Relics of Estuarine Magic, 2021.  Specualtive digital archive

Original Artwork for digital background, pencil, 2020

Material Experiments

Reed paper sample made with Bullrush seed heads from Swanscombe Peninsula, 2021

Relics of Estuarine Magic 

Examples of Ritual Objects with descriptions. 

Collection Number

Object Name
Anemoi Mundi Poppet on Element Brick

Object Type
Spiritual Navigation and Guidance, Divination

26, 25, 12

Plastic, steel nail,
seaweed, wax, bone, copper, brass, iron,
rose fibre, glass, roots.

Physical Description
Poppet sat on plastic element brick; four circular turrets marking earth, air, fire and water.  

Use and Meaning
For independent meditation, joined with Swansula Compass to empower spiritual navigation.

Poppet covers eyes signifying openness to guidance by the elements and travel through the mind. Sitting between the four elements signifying position in the crossroads, the bridge between the worlds.

Figure represents wind deity, universal soul, dual mother, mercurial goddess with wing feathers in colours the four elements.

Sat before black seaweed candle for uncrossing and protection, housed in a copper mask; the self projected to the world in front. Removable pins can be lifting when drawn towards and connecting to particular forces.

Collection Number

Object Name
Drawing of Ceramic Infusion Vessel

Object Type
Drawing, Speculative Magic

21, 29

Ink, graphite pencil, manufactured wood pulp paper

Physical Description
Dated circa 2122. Four pages of drawings from notebook with sketches of an ‘infusion vessel’ to take herbal medicine during
collective meditation.

Use and Meaning

Drawing for infusion vessel demonstarates communities use of folk medicine and collective magic to bond together, and to Swansula. Vessel details five mouth tendrils for breathing vapour from distilled flora.

Imagined to be used outside around open fire. Vapours collect in copper horn, distilled into tinctures. Ceramic panels representing elements surround vessel, channeling balance.

Swansula’s Evolution 2019 - 2020

Initial ideas explored through Swasula pose questions on the use of technology in wildlife conservation. Provoked by todays use of bio-mimic design and artificial ways of strengthening ecologies.

Swansula’s Eco-Maton are radical ideas for rewilding automaton based on Swascombe’s prehistoric wildlife. Fantastical sci-fi eco-bots, speculatively made of waste and new plant based materials, that fill extinct ecological nieches in the landscape whilst harvesting and processing the natural materials they ‘eat’ ; digesting matter which is then used to make new materials.

A coming together of wildlife and industry.

Alchemical Fountain of Rebirth, 2018. Sketch for speculative Ritual Object

SQ Swansula Quartz 2099

A fictional time capsule encasing a digital collection of artworks left in Swansula.

SQ Swansula Quartz 2099 curated at swansula.site, digitised flint

Lunasaw Message, 2020 3.57m digital video, infared trigger camera

Sanasalu you,

May you find this in many a moon,
By washing in Swansula’s water.

That is where our wild spirit is home, a part of which here, is gifted.

We digitised our voice, our breath, to fossilise our minds.
Lines drawn under stars, by river in hide

With our hearts beating fruit ripened blood.

A painting by reed on new moon.

When feraled in circle, we are a coven at dance in the rush,
With lungs open wide, breasts stroked by tide,
Singing and dreaming in kin.

Words from Swansula in pain, expressed through our unwashed brains.

Ears opened to every whisper carried on wind,
We uncoded the croaks from the ravens that spoke in their name.

Like drawing, so much is just vision.
Technology we endeavoured to eco-fy,
Materials grown with their body in mind

But as synthetics, the surrogates we dreamt so dear were a burden
that no longer Earth can bare.
Organic, they perish with us.

The tools and wares we left behind for wilder times, to rust.

To heal Swansula, we have to rewire our minds, and we have to rewild our hearts.

The past is scarred like ours, land filled, belly gauged and ripped away by men
who quarried till no longer fertile matter slept.

What surfaced was their deep past.

Prehistoric bones picked out by mining hands
Who clawed at every ancient root hugging tight in the chalk.

That is why in hand by flame we swore -
To conserve.

Till waters are clean enough for all to swim,
To lay their eggs within.

Till the plastic layered in so deep is sucked out by our love
And nature long steered from here moves in again.

Then, as guardians with all our heart,

Sink into the wild.

TS To Swansula 2092, 2022. 5.52m audio track. Composed and Produced by Shiv Pattni. 
Vocal by Grace Emily Manning and Shiv Pattni

For you, my almighty reverence
Tor you, you feed me my life.

When I chew and digest your matters,
In the wall of my gut
I’m your wife.

But you can’t walk with your hands
‘Round my chest.

And when I bathe you can’t hold,
On to my breast.

With every sorrow I face,
I swim in your grace
But the fear of your tide holds me back.

Today, I distilled black berries
And I stained out a blotch of my past.

‘Cause the pain of feeling no safety,
I a pain I don’t know I can last.

Sometimes I wish,
I wish I were cyborg.

Instead of nerves, I ran wires to my feet.
Every memory of Mum
Every reverie of Dad,
I’d reprogramme their comfort I seek.

When we moved into the shadow lands
To rewild, regrow and restore.

Every sorrow we face
We swim in your grace,
But our burden I cannot ignore.

In my womb is the ghost a child,
Not conceived, nor grew, never born.

For the demands they could make,
May aid you to break.
And as feral they’d struggle forlorn.

With everyday your system grows wilder.
Soon one dark, I will biodegrade,

As I return to my home
And you root through my bone,

As we bind, I’m no longer

From Swansula 2028, 2020, 4.28m. Live action, stop-motion, After Effects
Sound Design composed and produced by Shiv Pattni
Synthesizer by Ryan Crooks. Vocal by Alice Aires. Additional Vocals by Rita Pattni, Varsana Pattni

I am desperate to reach out my roots.
I amsorry, I have born you no fruit.
I am flooded, yet my heart has drained.
I am grateful, for you I can sail.

Now whisper to the buds at dawn,
To spring for all souls that are sore.

Who whimper for my wheezing chest,
Who endure, to heal mothers crest.

Ruminate as my satellite renews,
As you swim through my still, sodden blue.

The mud from your toenails prove,
You are ointment to my every bruise.

Fall back.
My wind is the arms that you need.

Look up,
Galaxies full of hands that you seek.

How long will this sickness take hold.
How long till it spreads to my soul?

Lunasaw are my spirit, I know.
All will fall till my body regrows.

As you return to my heart,
Your flesh resurrects as a star.
When our bodies ferment, we restart,
‘Till the shift in the mind of all parts.

In time when I am stronger to speak,
I will come to you, look out for me.

In my wildest of forms I shall be,
Watch the tide till no longer you see.

SROES Swansula Remote Odona Eye Surveillance 2057. 2020, 1.26 m.
After Effects, live action, infrared trigger camera, stop-motion animation

A voyeuristic capture of a symbiotic relationship between rewilding Eco-Maton and human within a speculative conservation recording set in the future; captured by Swansula’s Odona Eye, a dragonfly drone.

Ecomaton Poto and Lunasaw Maya, 2020
Stop-motion puppet. 120cm x 140cm x 50cm

Agar based bioplastic dyed with chlorella, recycled metal, linen dyed with weld,
madder and blackberry, recycled textile, defunct machine parts, 
LED light, copper and brass figure armature.

Poto, 2019. Inital design sketch for Eco-Maton