Working in collaboration with the musician/ sound artist and performer Lizzy Laurance, Miriam Austin presents a performance that emerges from the ancient fen wetlands of East Anglia, and the miraculously preserved body of Saint Aethelryth, Abbess of the first Cathedral at Ely. Drawing on Austin’s research into the history and ecology of the fens, SEAXBURH weaves together stories of human and more-than-human encounters: the body and the landscape, the wood and the water, the river and the eelskin. The sequence depicts the meeting of Aethelryth and a figure from the future fenlands, after the sea has risen. Peat, chalk, lilies, limestone and eel fat accrete over bodies held by the water. Unknowable birth is narrated by the gathering silt; the feathered figure born into adulthood joins with the Saint who heals in her tomb.

SEAXBURH is an unfolding work in four chapters that encompasses video and performance. The first chapter was realised as a live performance took place at Modern Art Oxford, involving a large conger eel. It was performed by Miriam Austin, Stephanie Hartop, Lizzy Laurance and Harmanpreet Randhawa.

Images 1, 6 and 7 with thanks to Sarah Catterall