In 1983 when an inquisitive fisherman picked up a rock and threw it up the steeply-shelving beach at Cell Howell in Southwest Wales, Britain, he could never have dreamt that it would lead to a massive drug bust that sent shock waves across three continents.

“How to Pickle an Adder” is the retracing and reconstruction of a historic 1983 operation by the Dyfed-Powys Police codenamed “Seal Bay”. The operation is a story of one of the largest and most complex drug smuggling conspiracies seen in Britain, exposing a global network of traffickers. The smugglers built a high-tech cavern out of fiberglass under an inaccessible cove in North Pembrokeshire. Using the smuggling routes that generations have ran centuries before them, they intended on bringing in 3 tons of cannabis a week into the country. Unbeknownst to them, the nosiness and vigilance of the locals were to foil their plans. 

Drawing influence from cinematic lighting and constructed landscapes whilst also re-appropriating the visual language of forensic photography and the infrared technologies used in crime fighting, this body of work presents itself as a beguiling crime story. Through a carefully orchestrated assemblage of photographs, texts, and archival materials, viewers are plunged into navigating moments ranging from the vapid to the substantial, in the discovery and investigation of the crime, deciphering clues as if at a real crime scene.

Curated by He Yining

About Artist