In response to Monster, Metal, an arts lab on the Thames Estuary invited Eelyn Lee to develop the second stage of her Monster Trilogy through a series of residencies at their base in Southend-on-Sea. Between March 2015 to September 2016 Eelyn explored the South Essex estuarine landscape; researched local history and recorded conversations about stories of fear associated with the river.
Inspired by Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein Eelyn pursued her interest in notions of monsters and fear. Here she explains why she is basing her work in the world of the estuary:
"... With a Chinese/English heritage I have held a lifelong interest in otherness, migration and our relationship to place. The estuary has beguiled me for many years - neither land nor sea, it is the landscape that best describes me.
As well as a haven for migrating wildlife, the estuary is a netherworld: part salt-water, part fresh, part land, part mud it is an ever-shifting landscape that can reveal things from a distant past. Like a monster it is slippery and unknown, a good place for hiding, for harbouring fear and for dreaming of transformation.
With the Thames Estuary forming the gateway to London, I am interested in it’s long history of defending itself, not only from past invasions but from the water and the weather as well as perceived threats such as unexploded bombs, nuclear leaks, gas explosions and stowaway migrants.
Through my research I intend to discover and capture the voices of a place that defines itself within the margins of land and sea..." Eelyn Lee, 2016
The research and development informed Creature of the Estuary which was presented by film curator Gareth Evans [Whitechapel Gallery] at Estuary 2016. Eelyn is currently developing the third iteration of the Monster Trilogy - a feature legnth film for theatrical release that she plans to film in locations along the Thames estuary.
Essex County Council funded Eelyn to carry out aspects of the work on Canvey Island and Benflet Creek. Read More.