The Naval Shipworm

The Naval Shipworm

Created by Jay Hollis as part of the PK150 Connected Collections Project, this film was presented at the PK150 Connected Collections Symposium held in September 2021.

This project was about bringing new questions and approaches to the museum’s archives. It was about critiquing dominant narratives and histories with stories from the margins. The dominant narrative in my research is a human one, and while my colleagues have told tales of indigenous peoples, life at cable stations and language, I couldn’t help but wonder where non-human organisms fitted in the history of telegraphy. After all, the submarine cable began its life at sea!

The video below shows how I started my research and how it culminated in the story of the Naval shipworm (Teredo navalis). This marine mollusc has disrupted human ventures at sea for thousands of years and in a history dominated by progress and empire, the lowly shellfish reminds us that technology exists in an ecosystem, shaping and being shaped by the many organisms we share that ecosystem with.  

As part of the project Jay has also created a website blog called STRANDS.

Strands are elements that make a whole. Like the strands of a telegraph cable, this blog brings together the sporadic and unruly into a single body of work. The essays and artefacts found here are the avenues I have been exploring as a ‘Citizen Curator’ for PK Porthcurno – Museum of Global Communications.

Jay Hollis

Header image: The Zodiac Magazine – Volume 1. 1906.

Author: Jay Hollis

Jay is studying Politics and International Relations at Exeter University. 

The Naval Shipworm
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