The Shell Record (2021)

The Shell Record is both a dataset of shells gathered by that artist from the foreshore of the river Thames in early 2021 and moving image pieces generated by using a GAN trained on this imagery. It explores ideas around collecting, value and trade and links to the history of shells being used as stores of value as one of the earliest forms of currency.

It is also a work that is a record of the shells of the Thames, forever written into the blockchain, at this particular moment. A recent scientific paper shows that shells that have been in the river since the end of the last Ice Age have now become rare, replaced by other non-native species and that this will eventually become a time-marker for the Anthropocene as they become fossils in the strata.

(Text by Anna Ridler)