Earthkinology III: Aquascope For Connecting To Roaches lives on the shore of River Lea and has three underwater live-streaming cameras that provide a rare insight into the mysterious underworld of our urban waters to the general public.

Earthkinology is a series of three place-based interactive public art installations made out of waste materials. The sculptures have embedded optical elements and audio storytelling that engage passers-by with the often-unnoticed characters within urban ecosystems. Serving as colourful “human bait”, the sculptures capture the attention of the busy public and direct it towards local ecological beings – lichen, lime tree or common roach fish, expanding the viewer’s perception of the city to include other ecological worldviews and providing a space for these ecological neighbours to speak to us. Through this diversion of attention and world expansion through storytelling, the project encourages the de-centralization of the human exceptionalism within the city bounds and stimulates the formation of interspecies kinship and empathy bonds with our more-than-human urban neighbours.

Made out of solely composite waste and second-hand materials: newspaper, wire, plaster, epoxy resin, paint, varnish

 The sculpture has been initially made for the graduate showcase of MA Material Futures and has been widely exhibited around Walthamstow and Hackney public spaces

More than half of the world’s population now lives in cities and by 2060 further 10% are projected to make the move. With this rapid metropolitan and industrial development, along with city dwellers’ increasingly frantic pace of life, urban nature has more often than not been either diminished or made invisible. The global experience of Coronavirus pandemic though has for once provided a different perspective, giving many the never taken before opportunity to explore their local bioregions. Citizens’ interests are slowly coming back to the nearby green. And as nature connected people are more prone to adopt pro-environmental empathetic behaviours, this comes as a hopeful step towards building a climate change resilient culture.  But how do we sustain and deepen this revived interest post-pandemic now that the pace of city life has picked up again?

 Earthkinology III is a participatory sculpture made out of composite waste materials that engages the public with nature aquatic life present in the city. Using an array of storytelling and sensory invitations, the experience asks the viewers to pause amidst their day, to take notice of fellow kin all around and explore what this anthropocentric world might look and feel like from their perspective.

 The project combines imaginary, backed up by science fact and traditional indigenous and ecological knowledge, to build up possible narratives from the perspective of other species, exploring new ways to access, bond and empathise with our more-than-human urban neighbours.

 Earthkinology is a grassroots movement masked by public entertainment encouraging new way of engaging and deepening of a collective sense of kinship with and connection to local natural ecosystems for the local public. The project is an effort towards further de-centering of the human exceptionalism so prevalent in our city culture with ambition to contribute to the much necessary shift towards interspecies relationship building and ecocentric ways of perceiving and being.

Roach aka Silver Torpedo or Wonder Redfin.

Listen to the Roaches sharing their tricks for thriving in any conditions. These unsung heroes of urban shores, adaptable thrivers and supreme generalists can survive anywhere. We have a lot to learn from them at this time of our ecological history.

We inhabit even the nastiest of polluted waters. We survive in your mess, in your ruins, in your neglect and guess what – amidst all that murk we prosper. Give us a medal and sign off the papers – let’s collectively admit, it’s us who’s got the supreme reigns over the city’s water domains. Yet the other day an old carp told us a strange rumour – that you, the two-legged ones, somehow proclaim formal ownership over the waters, dividing them and dissecting them with invisible borders. Such ridiculous rules, signing papers and shaking hands over territories long claimed by your feral neighbours? Oh, it’s truly a pity our fins can’t hold a pen to sign appeals.


Created & produced by

Alisa Ruzavina

Video by

Xuan Sinden and Maël Hénaf

Photography by

Xuan Sinden

Project Assistance:

Beam, Bryan o Ryan, Igor Ruzavin, Jaky Swish, Edie Flowers, Shannon Craik, Bibi Baker, Christine Moon, Robbie Winstanley, Niccolo Binda, Nikita Snegirjov, Varvara  Ivanova, Rosie Gearty, Jack Hoban, Katherine Alice, Noel Oganyan, Valeria Nicolucci, Frankie Strand, Jess Bruno, Celia Calderon Asensio, Fai West, Liz Tonheim, Jan Catmouse, Sky Waters, Ivan, Carmen  Cordwell-Tuck, Paulina Lenoir Guajardo; Paloma Grimm, Trixie, Jess and Charlotte from CSM BA Fine Art and CSM technicians –  Savvas Papasavva, Joel Wycherley  and Rachel Mandley.