The Bureau of Lost and Found



Tracy & Hobbs were commissioned by UP Projects to create a project inspired by Mudlarking which was presented during The Thames Festival September 2014.  The artists transformed the interior of the Floating Cinema to create an old fashioned 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.

Participants were invited to take part in a Mudlarking session with The Museum of London experts and then take their finds to the ‘bureau’ on board the Floating Cinema. 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. 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.IMG_5541floatingcine